Health

Toronto hospital tests surgical residents' bedside manner

Bedside manner, a crucial component in a doctor's medical training, is now being objectively evaluated at a Toronto hospital.

'Soft' skill ranges from comforting ailing patients to calming angry families

Orthopedic surgical resident David Burns comforts a 'patient' during a test of 'soft skills' at Womens' College Hospital in Toronto. (CBC)

Bedside manner, a crucial component in a doctor's medical training, is now being objectively evaluated at a Toronto hospital.

The bedside exams, which cover six so-called "soft skills" ranging from breaking a cancer diagnosis to a patient to communicating effectively with disgruntled family members about delays in surgery, are conducted with actors in the role of patients.

Previously, medical residents' soft skills were tested on paper.

In the latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Surgery, Dr. Tim Dwyer of Women’s College Hospital and his team conclude the simulations are valid and reliable to use in an orthopedic residency program.

Dwyer believes the tool has the potential to spread to other specialities.

Watch as CBC-TV’s Kim Brunhuber tags along as orthopedic surgical residents Catherine Donlin and David Burns take the test. 

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