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R-E-S-P-E-C-T: The health of health care depends on it
Date:12/13/2010

INDIANAPOLIS Along with integrity and compassion, respect for patients, colleagues and other team members is an essential attribute of medical professionalism. A new study examines how medical students learn respectful or disrespectful professional behavior.

"Exploring the Meaning of Respect in Medical Student Education: An Analysis of Student Narratives" appears in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine. From the observations and conclusions of third-year medical students, the article provides insight into how future physicians acquire knowledge of respectful and disrespectful professional behavior.

Of the 595 narratives on professionalism reviewed by the study authors, one in four focused on the respect category. Two-thirds of these narratives were negative, a high percentage, especially when compared with other aspects of professional behavior, in which the proportion of negative narratives was significantly lower.

Narratives cited as examples of disrespectful behavior by the students include: a physician who brought a doughnut and coffee into a patient room; a physician who continued a personal call while on medical rounds; a physician who patted a patient on the stomach while making a vulgar gesture about how much weight the patient needed to lose; an attending physician making a joke at the students' expense; and a student who surfed the Internet while another student made a presentation.

"Disrespectful behavior was observed to lead to loss of trust, strong negative emotions, and loss of relationships. Respectful behavior was seen as leading to satisfaction, willingness to share information, adherence to treatment and positive emotion," said study first author Orit Karnieli-Miller, Ph.D., of the Department of Community Mental Health at the University of Haifa in Israel. She is a former post-doctoral fellow at the Regenstrief Institute.

In those narratives focusing on the
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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