SMART, BUT CAN’T LISTEN

My prior post (4/23/12, Blog.reliableinsights.com), “23 Seconds,” addressed the study showing on average, a doctor waits only 23 seconds before interrupting his or her patient.  As a follow up to that post, I want to reference Shannon Brownlee’s recent article, “The Doctor Will See You—If You’re Quick” (Newsweek, Double issue 4/23/12 and 4/30/12, pp. 46–50).

Brownlee observes, “Medical schools have traditionally put a premium on recruiting students who test well, but testing well doesn’t guarantee the social skills to listen to patients” (p. 50).

Oh, how true!  Social skills, emotional intelligence, sensitivity, tact, are all qualities that are not intrinsically connected to technical skills.  Most of us cannot begin to recount the number of people with whom we have worked that fit this bill.

Just because a person is technically astute does not mean he or she is a great communicator.  Likewise, just because a person is a great communicator does not mean he or she is technically astute.  Either side or both sides of the coin might need polishing.

Thankfully, increasing numbers of medical programs are incorporating “bedside manner” courses.  Perhaps this will balance out the traditional healthcare provider so the communication skills catch up with the technical skills.

Time will tell.  That means you and me.  We’ll see.





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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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