Description: This is an informative and interesting book that attempts to address the communication gap between patients and physicians.
Purpose: The purpose is to teach interpersonal skills to healthcare professionals that will enhance the doctor-patient relationship and foster trust. Given the widespread dissatisfaction among patients and the defensiveness physicians are feeling in the current medical-legal climate, this is an extremely important topic that deserves further evaluation. The book meets its goals without being overly critical of current practices.
Audience: The book addresses physicians but also targets other healthcare professionals, including nurses, medical students, and hospice workers. The book is a collaborative effort of two authors combining experience and authority in both the fields of clinical psychology and medicine.
Features: The book includes a few black-and-white illustrations. The references are useful and up-to-date. The first several chapters of the book are an instructive guide to the methods and skills proposed by the authors to be used in communication with patients. The second half of the book focuses on specific problems and issues encountered with patients including dealing with the terminally ill patient and informing patients of adverse diagnoses. Throughout the book, case scenarios and dialogues are used to illustrate the authors' methods of communication.
Assessment: This is a useful book that will help healthcare practitioners at all levels sharpen their communication skills and, in doing so, encourage a trusting, collaborative relationship with the patient. The authors remind us that our primary goal in healthcare is to care for and comfort our patients.