Teaching physicians communication skills: where we are, how we got here

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At the end of the twentieth century, the medical profession realized that physicians did not have the communication skills they needed in order to serve society in a manner consistent with their individual and collective aspirations. The curriculum of the medical profession was reformed as a result. Positivist biases within the profession influenced this reform, freezing the profession’s view of communication skills as simple mnemonic tools rather than profound, lifelong evolutions of worldview. The tool-oriented conception of communication skills contributes to physicians’ premature abandonment of the pursuit of expert performance in interpersonal communication.To reach an expert level of communication competency that aligns with their professional aspirations, physicians may wish to revisit their curricular choices.
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