Philip R. Cohen, MD
Dr. Cohen is from the University of Houston Health Center, Texas; the Department of Dermatology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; and the Department of Dermatology, University of Texas Medical School, Houston.
Dr. Cohen reports no conflicts of interest in relation to this post.
In a succinct paper, Shaw (Int J Dermatol. 2012;51:113-114) outlined not only appropriate clinic etiquette and diagnostic tips but also a humanistic approach to interacting with patients. He commented that patients are often frightened and emotionally fragile about their diagnosis; in addition, they receive a lot of information during the visit with varying needs for supplemental explanation and may not understand the dermatologic vocabulary used by physicians. He also emphasized the physician’s responsibility in helping the patient by being serious and caring.
What’s the issue?
It is important for not only dermatologists but also all healers who interact with patients to remember that these individuals seek diagnosis and management of their condition by a compassionate caregiver. Therefore, “[d]uring your interaction with patients: (1) hear what they tell you, but also listen to what they say, and (2) do not only look, but also see what you are looking at” (The Dermatologist. 2012;20:17). If it were not for our patients, our training and treatment skills would have no purpose. In conclusion, the c’s of patient care in dermatology include not only clinical competence but also concerned compassion.