patient-doctor relationship Positive Potential Relationships

The Patient-Doctor Relationship: The Sources of Conflict

The positive patient-doctor relationship is essential to your health, but it is often far from perfect.

The reasons for conflict and discomfort are complex. Doctors are human too with their own priorities and emotional reactions. Sometimes our styles and personalities clash. As with all our relationships, we each bring emotional baggage to the bedside.

Medical school teaches us to be dispassionate and dissociated so that we can be objective and clear-headed in an emergency. If we do this too well, we can come across as cold and clinical.

We learn a particular system of inquiry – a way of funneling down our questions from broad to narrow. When we become too focused on disease and overly task-oriented, we may seem abrupt and rushed. Doctors are known to interrupt their patients’ answers in order to ask another question!

Patients sometimes feel like they are treated like a number or a disease. They want to be seen and treated as complete individuals.

Next: You may be surprised how doctors really feel about patients.

By Davidicus Wong

I am a family physician. I write a weekly newspaper column, Healthwise for the Vancouver Courier, Burnaby Now, Royal City Record and Richmond News.

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