Should doctors take classes on empathy skills during training?

FOX's Alex Hein weighs-in with "Housecall for Health":

This is Housecall for Health.

Bedside manners often matter a great deal to patients, especially in a time of grave illness or ahead of an impending surgery. One doctor believes that instead of being urged to be more compassionate, physicians should learn specific empathy skills during their training to improve a patients overall level of care.

Dr. David Jeffrey, who wrote the paper, said there's concern about a general psychological and social support for patients from their doctors, and that the commercialization of health care has left patients vulnerable to being treated as an instrument to bring in money.

The flip side, he said, is if doctors are too emotionally involved with patients they may experience psychological distress and burnout.

He said that while compassion and sympathy are simple reactions, it takes skill to develop empathy, which should be a goal for medical education. His letter was published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

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Housecall for Health, I'm Alex Hein, FOX News.

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