Medical student attitudes toward the doctor-patient relationship

Paul Haidet, Joyce E. Dains, Debora A Paterniti, Laura Hechtel, Tai Chang, Ellen Tseng, John C. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

177 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context. Medical educators have emphasized the importance of teaching patient-centred care. Objectives. To describe and quantify the attitudes of medical students towards patient-centred care and to examine: (a) the differences in these attitudes between students in early and later years of medical school; and (b) factors associated with patient-centred attitudes. Methods. We surveyed 673 students in the first, third, and fourth years of medical school. Our survey utilized the Patient-Practitioner Orientation Scale (PPOS), a validated instrument designed to measure individual preferences towards various aspects of the doctor-patient relationship. Total PPOS scores can range from patient-centred (egalitarian, whole person oriented) to disease- or doctor-centred (paternalistic, less attuned to psychosocial issues). Additional demographic data including gender, age, ethnicity, undergraduate course-work, family medical background and specialty choice were collected from the fourth year class. Results. A total of 510 students (76%) completed data collection. Female gender (P < 0.001) and earlier year of medical school (P = 0.03) were significantly associated with patient-centred attitudes. Among fourth year students (n = 89), characteristics associated with more patient-centred attitudes included female gender, European-American ethnicity, and primary-care career choice (P < 0.05 for each comparison). Conclusion. Despite emphasis on the need for curricula that foster patient-centred attitudes among medical students, our data suggest that students in later years of medical school have attitudes that are more doctor-centred or paternalistic compared to students in earlier years. Given the emphasis placed on patient satisfaction and patient-centred care in the current medical environment, our results warrant further research and dialogue to explore the dynamics in medical education that may foster or inhibit student attitudes toward patient-centred care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-574
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Education
Volume36
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

Keywords

  • Attitude
  • Curriculum
  • Delivery of health care
  • Doctor-patient relations
  • Education, medical, undergraduates, methods
  • Patient-centred care
  • Patient-centred satisfaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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    Haidet, P., Dains, J. E., Paterniti, D. A., Hechtel, L., Chang, T., Tseng, E., & Rogers, J. C. (2002). Medical student attitudes toward the doctor-patient relationship. Medical Education, 36(6), 568-574. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2923.2002.01233.x