Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Buddy Program

My latest run-in with a doctor who had the bedside manner of a warty toad made me think a lot about how we can train our medical students to not be so...uh...peckerheadish (best word available right now in my brain). As luck would have it, I stumbled across this article today. I know that medical students and/or residents are sometimes video taped with their patients so that the student/resident can actually sit back a see how they interact with the patient (mannerisms, conversation, body language, etc.). It's amazing how floored some people are when they witness their own behaviors. I thought the Buddy program mentioned in this article sounded interesting and unique. I know that my personal experiences with the diseases I research has influenced both my commitment to my work and the quality of my research.

Speaking of the warty toad, I think it's absolutely deplorable to not recognize that you've scared the bejeezus out of someone even after they've burst out into tears. What is wrong with people?


At 9:30 PM, Blogger shrinkykitten said...

I have two totally inappropriate and irrelevant reactions to the article:
1. I am craving nachos.
2. Re: training med students -- I read an article once by a woman whose job it was to teach students to do pelvic exams *on her*. I just, I just can't even imagine.

At 9:45 PM, Blogger James said...

"... I think it's absolutely deplorable to not recognize that you've scared the bejeezus out of someone even after they've burst out into tears. What is wrong with people?"

You're likely dealing with someone who shouldn't be talking to patients, period. This sort of individual may well be technically competent, and know all that there is know about what he/she does, but when it comes to dealing with people they're rocks. That's often due to one of three things:

1. It's a defensive mechanism on their part to allow them to deal with something they're profoundly uncomfortable dealing with. I would think that this sort of person would eventually have to get the clue as whatever was making them uncomfortable to begin with has to be exacerbated by the hamhanded way they manage to deal with patients and the horrible results from that.

2. The person honestly hasn't a clue. Asperger types are like this, in fact this would almost be a textbook example of someone in that mode. They know what they need to know, they may even be brillant, but they can't connect with people to save their lives and haven't any real sense of how they're causing pain to people, though I should think someone breaking down and crying would be a pretty darn good clue that something's seriously amiss.

3. They just don't give a rat's butt how it affects you, it's their job, they're doing it, and you're just expected to deal with it and cope. They're not there to be your therapist and little does it matter to them how they're causing a bigger problem by being callous.

So, a long answer to your question, "What's wrong with them?" --- in my experience it's usually 1 of those 3.

At 2:51 AM, Blogger trisha said...

Oh, I was totally going to say exactly what James said.


At 7:34 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

Shrinky kitten: You are too funny. I'm not sure how you arrived at the nachos, but I like the way you think. In regards to the #2--that's just weird. I give that woman props for going the extra mile, but it's just, well, weird. Thankfully there's a rule here that medical students or residents (in most cases) can not sit in on medical examinations for other university students. I can't imagine going to the coffee shop or the book store knowing that someone in there may have seen me naked.

James and Trisha: You are probably correct. I may blog about that incident in the near future because I'm still baffled by the whole thing. I still need to think about it some more, though, before it makes its way to the public.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger shrinkykitten said...

Well, the nachos aren't such a leap. In the article you linked, it mentions that they met over beer and nachos. I would have margaritas with my nachos, but nachos are the constant.

I am at a U with Medical school as well, and we have no such rules! In fact students who need therapy (and our insurance only covers us to go to the medical school) *have* to see a trainee of some sort (resident or intern/extern), which is bad Ithink (then on top of it, all medical records are on-line and anyone affiliated with the medical center can see them - they're not supposed to just willy-nilly look at others' records, but they could).

You should blog about that doc. I have had horrible doc experiences as well, and I pretty strictly only see women. I think I pretty much, at this point, expect I will cry. Once I was on the exam table crying (in pain and fear) during a minor procedure and the doc was complaining that she was going to be late for her meeting. Nice.

Sadly it doesn't surprise me that medical docs don't get trained in this stuff as psychiatrists don't, and frankly those in my sphere of the shrink-in-training world don't either. That reminds me that I want to read the book about the training of psychiatrists from the perspective of an anthropologist again (Of two minds?).

Sorry to have hijacked your comments section :)


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