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Why Your Future Doctor Won't Be Like Dr. House
The way to avoid having those less-than-helpful doctor-patient interactions, says Cynda Ann Johnson, MD, MBA, dean of the medical school at Virginia Tech Carilion, is to recruit nice people and train them to be "the kind of doctor you want to go see." Yes, most medical schools offer communications and etiquette courses (sometimes with actors playing patients), and U.S. licensing requirements involve a clinical skills test that assesses communication. But a new entrance exam used by VTC and at least seven other medical schools around the country involves a "multiple mini interview" test that screens for courtesy, diplomacy, flexibility, decision-making and tact. (Gardiner Harris, the public health reporter for the New York Times, recently visited VTC on the day the multiple mini interviews took place, and called them the "equivalent of speed-dating.")
Johnson says that students can witness some pretty appalling behavior during their clinical training, and the school's goal is to give them a strong ethical foundation "so the won't succumb" to that--in other words, so they'll know better than their Dr. House-like instructors.
Until the new generation of docs takes over, use this advice to get the best possible treatment from yours: