The patient-physician relationship in surgical students.
ABSTRACT Students may become less adept at developing strong patient-physician relationships during medical school. We evaluated whether students choosing careers in surgery show a similar negative trend.
Scores from 2 validated measurements of medical personality were compared using repeated-measures analysis of variance. The Patient Provider Orientation Scale (PPOS) assesses whether students are more patient-centered or paternalistic, and the Physician Reaction to Uncertainty Scale (PRUS) measures willingness to disclose uncertainty.
From 1998 to 2005, 236 students completed the PPOS and PRUS in the first and third year of medical school. Surgical students remained patient-centered in their first and third year of medical school (mean PPOS, 4.5 vs 4.54, respectively; P < .348). In addition, they became more willing to disclose uncertainty (mean PRUS improved from 25.5 to 23.8; P < .002).
Students choosing careers in surgery maintain or improve upon personality traits that are important for developing strong patient-physician relationships.