Doctors urge acting
class in med school
By Tim Friend
Doctors should take acting classes so they can at least
pretend they're concerned about their patient's health, say two articles in
Not to say doctors are cold, but the stress of medical
practice sometimes spoils a compassionate mood. So knowing how to act a bit
wouldn't hurt, suggest Drs. Hillel Finestone and David Conter of the University
of Western Ontario.
"We do not put forward the idea cynically," they say. Their
concern: If a doctor doesn't have the skills "to assess a patient's emotional
needs and to display clear and effective responses...the job is not done."
They say acting classes should be required in medical school
so doctors can learn just when to provide a perfectly timed compassionate look,
or a touch on the hand.
But which is better? Classical Laurence Olivier or method
acting like Marlon Brando?
The doctors hope "comparative testing in practice" will
answer that question.
An accompanying commentary in the British journal by Dr.
Chris McManus of St. Mary's Hospital Medical School, London, says acting may
ultimately save doctors at risk of professional burnout.
Meanwhile, McManus writes, "the surgeons, those prime
donne of medicine, hold center stage, acting out tantrums with thrown scalpels
and cutting remarks."
Lining docs' pockets
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