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Theater Training Improves Residents' Bedside Manner

Six hours of training significantly improves their empathy skills

THURSDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Theater training can help residents improve their clinical empathy skills and bedside manner, according to a report in the August issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Alan W. Dow, M.D., and colleagues from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond assigned 14 internal medicine residents to learn clinical empathy techniques from theater professors while six residents received no training. The theater professors then assessed their clinical empathy through six subscores during real-time patient encounters.

The researchers found that the group that received theater instruction performed significantly better at baseline on all subscores and also performed significantly better than the group that received no training on five of the six subscores.

"Collaborative efforts between the departments of theater and medicine are effective in teaching clinical empathy techniques," Dow and colleagues conclude.

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