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ARTICLE |

Calibrating the Physician:  Personal Awareness and Effective Patient Care

Dennis H. Novack, MD; Anthony L. Suchman, MD; William Clark, MD; Ronald M. Epstein, MD; Eva Najberg, MSc; Craig Kaplan, MD
JAMA. 1997;278(6):502-509. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550060078040.
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Physicians' personal characteristics, their past experiences, values, attitudes, and biases can have important effects on communication with patients; being aware of these characteristics can enhance communication. Because medical training and continuing education programs rarely undertake an organized approach to promoting personal awareness, we propose a "curriculum" of 4 core topics for reflection and discussion. The topics are physicians' beliefs and attitudes, physicians' feelings and emotional responses in patient care, challenging clinical situations, and physician self-care. We present examples of organized activities that can promote physician personal awareness such as support groups, Balint groups, and discussions of meaningful experiences in medicine. Experience with these activities suggests that through enhancing personal awareness physicians can improve their clinical care and increase satisfaction with work, relationships, and themselves.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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