Listening Continued: Perspective from the Patient and Standardized Patient

In our continuing examination of why LISTENING is probably the single most important skill in being able to pass the USMLE Step 2 CS examhere is an excellent article on this very issue. (I am just loving this site, Mind the Gap!)

Obviously, if you don’t listen to your patient, or your standardized patient, with an open mind, you will miss cues and clues from your standardized patient. A previous blog entry talked about the difficulties you can get into with anchoring bias. But almost as important to your actual listening, is how your listening makes your patient feel. One of the quotes from the article above, a real patient, says:

  • ‘‘I want the doctor. . . to have empathy and to listen and to look into my eyes and to make me feel that for that short moment…you are hearing me, you are there for me, and you give me that sense that I matter.”

Here are the three themes which are explored in detail in the article:

Theme #1 – Respondents (people/patients) believed that listening was essential if the physician was to arrive at the right (and credible) diagnosis. 

Theme #2 – Listening is healing and therapeutic.

Theme #3 – Listening can foster and strengthen the doctor–patient relationship if it is authentic.

Remember, a standardized patient is also a REAL patient. They react to doctors at the USMLE centers as they do with their own doctors. And as in all the advice we give to ensure that you will pass the Step 2 CS exam, these principles will guide you to give excellent patient care throughout your professional medical career.

Have a look!  And let us know what you think…


Matthew Callahan

freelance writer of policy, politics, religion, and tech. web designer, social media manager, a/v installer, computer question-answerer.