Hunting for Attention Skills in Medical Students

Excerpt from "New for Aspiring Doctors, the People Skills Test," by Gardiner Harris, The New York Times, July 10, 2011:

"A pleasant bedside manner and an attentive ear have always been desirable traits in doctors, of course, but two trends have led school administrators to make the hunt for these qualities a priority.

The first is a growing catalog of studies that pin the blame for an appalling share of preventable deaths on poor communication among doctors, patients and nurses that often results because some doctors, while technically competent, are socially inept.

The second and related trend is that medicine is evolving from an individual to a team sport. Solo medical practices are disappearing. In their place, large health systems — encouraged by new government policies — are creating teams to provide care coordinated across disciplines. The strength of such teams often has more to do with communication than the technical competence of any one member."