Hey everyone, I am starting a new blog from the perspective of a new, third year medical student. It's going to look at some of the issues that medical students need to deal with in their clinical years, with a focus on how to maintain an empathetic relationship with the patients you may encounter along the way. The link is... A clinical heart And here's the latest post! October 10, 2012 The brisk consultant I feel that in my medical school we’ve had quite good teaching about how to address patient ICEs (ideas, concerns and expectations). It’s only when I’ve come into hospital that I’ve realized how these are sometimes the most importants aspects of taking a patient history. So many things seem to come up when you ask at the end, ‘so, what is it that you’re worried about?’ I tell this anecdote because of the kind of ward rounds I attend with a senior consultant who seems not to really be aware of what the patient is really worried about. It is difficult to watch a 3 minute encounter during a ward round where the patient, who’s probably been waiting for this meeting with a senior doctor, has a brief check up and a plan is decided. The concept of patient concerns, or worries, is rarely brought up as these ward rounds are typically a matter of making sure that nobody is suddenly or severly unwell or not being followed up for blood tests, rather than a check up of ‘how are you doing today?’ Someone said to us a few weeks ago, ‘Never treat patients like a piece of meat’ It’s wise advice, a bit brutal but speaks to the kind of doctor who will go in, do a procedure and not treat a patient as a person or a real human being. Getting an idea of a patient’s concerns is such a good way of eliciting their real feelings and worries about what they are experiencing that I feel it’s not only polite, and human, but good clinical practice. So for those consultants who come breezing in and listen to heart sounds/check obs/rush off again, I would encourange them to just listen for a bit longer to what their patient has to say, as I think that is where the fundamental issue may actually lie. It’s not always in the clinical signs.