Physician and medical sociologist David Scales explores why there seems to be less empathy from doctors in clinics and hospitals and why student’s empathy scores drop over the course of their training. “Despite anecdotal data from physicians, you won’t find studies in medical journals testing the empathy effect of less chaotic hospital environments or longer primary care appointments.”
Look, if they’re not empathetic in the first place before they enter med school they probably should not be pursuing a career in medicine. One of the most important things that any doctor of any kind can have in his bag of tricks is a good bedside manner. Of course, this seems to have been thrown out the window over the past 20 years or so. I lived in a neighborhood that was filled to bursting with med students who went to the medical university across the street from where I lived. Most of them had the personalities of a wet paper bag. They wouldn’t even respond when I wished them a good morning as we were all walking to work. They’d just glare at me and lift their noses in the air and pretend that I didn’t exist. It got to the point that when they wouldn’t respond I’d say, “Well, don’t have a good morning then!” They’d really give me the eye then but still wouldn’t respond. What’s going on in medical education these days? It’s as if so many of them think that they’re above and beyond all the rest of us, just because they spend eight years in school and have letters behind their names.