Larry R. Churchill, PhD; David Schenck, PhD
Acknowledgment: The authors thank the Baptist Healing Trust and the Eben Alexander Fund of Vanderbilt University Medical Center for financial support, and Elizabeth Claydon, Clif Cleaveland, Roy Elam, Eve Henry, Bonnie Miller, Juan-Carlos Monguilod, Michael Putman, and Lucia Tanassi for comment and criticism that improved the manuscript.
Grant Support: From the Baptist Healing Trust and the Eben Alexander Fund, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Requests for Single Reprints: Larry R. Churchill, PhD, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2525 West End Avenue, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37203; e-mail, email@example.com.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Churchill: Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2525 West End Avenue, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37203.
Dr. Schenck: Box 2253, Asheville, NC 28802.
It is well recognized that physicians' relationships with their patients can have healing effects, but the skills in this area of medical practice are understudied. This article reports on research designed to identify a core set of healing skills. The authors interviewed 50 practitioners, who were identified by their peers as healers, representing both allopathic and complementary medicine and alternative medicine. Interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed, made anonymous, and analyzed independently, and differences were reconciled by discussion. Eight skills emerged as pivotal from the transcripts of these interviews: do the little things; take time; be open and listen; find something to like, to love; remove barriers; let the patient explain; share authority; and be committed. Mastery of these skills would provide enduring improvements in patient care and reaffirm medicine's calling as a healing profession.
Churchill LR, Schenck D. Healing Skills for Medical Practice. Ann Intern Med. ;149:720–724. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-149-10-200811180-00006
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2008;149(10):720-724.
Cardiology, Emergency Medicine, Ethics, Hospital Medicine, Neurology.
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