SOUTH BEND, December 18, 2011 – Starting Spring 2012, first-year medical students at Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend (IUSM-SB) will be expected to master good bedside manners and effective doctor-patient communications, in addition to their medical curriculum. The new program is created and directed by Rudolph M. Navari, MD, IUSM-SB assistant dean.
The four-year program will begin as first-year students learn how to take a patient’s medical history. Curriculum for each year of medical school is planned, with lessons growing increasingly difficult as a student’s involvement with actual patients increases.
In a classroom setting, students will review talking with patients, developing effective communication skills, breaking bad news, providing counseling and handling palliative care. Patient-actors will be used so that students can role-play as they refine their skills.
While second-year med students are learning how to conduct a physical exam, they also will be reviewing how to deal with emotional patients and their families, depressed patients, patients in denial and those who need help and understanding as they make plans for long-term illness or end-of-life issues.
In the clinical setting of years three and four, medical students’ communication skills also will be observed as they rotate across specialties such as pediatrics, surgery and neurology. As they interact with patients, medical students may need to show their ability to explain a chronic illness, address the need for surgical intervention, discuss the importance of pre-natal care and/or explain the long-term impact of a traumatic injury.
The new four-year curriculum is expected to help students pass the require4d patient interaction unit of the U.S. Board of Medical Licensing Examination, which is taken in the fourth year of medical school. But best of all, it prepares them for fruitful patient and family interactions, which is always good medical science.