April 25, 2013

Doctors on social media

I dislike the term "social media" because it lumps together things that have very distinct characteristics. Nonetheless, most "social media" has user-generated content, low barrier to entry, and high interactivity between users which makes it hard---even impossible---to control a conversation.

Given that, here are 10 reasonable guidelines for doctors who want to be doctors in the world of social media. I'd be curious to see how many of these turn out to be wise; especially the first one.

Posted by rbrent at 07:09 AM | Comments (0)

Empathy and compassion fatigue

Ezequiel Gleichgerrcht and Jean Decety have a new PLOS-One article about clinicians' empathy. It's a huge sample of practicing clinicians (N > 7,000). The most interesting finding to me is that clinical experience per se did not affect empathy, burnout or compassion fatigue; instead, disposition was related to these things. Clinicians who experience the negative aspects of being compassionate showed the most personal distress, which in turn was associated with burnout and secondary traumatic distress.

The world won't drag you down. Only you can drag yourself down.

Posted by rbrent at 06:49 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2013


Theater is an excellent training model for doctor-patient communication. When I did theater (as a lad), most of the work was spent getting into the head of the character and finding the character's motivation for being in any particular scene. I can't say it was how I got started in studying psychology, but it was certainly my first taste of psychology in an academic setting.

Posted by rbrent at 06:51 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2012


Mohammadreza Hojat publishes like a mad-man on his Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy. I have never seen someone so dogged in the literature.

He's very good at describing the construct the scale measures, which is something like "how clinically important a doctor thinks patients' emotions are." This is certainly not the same as how empathetic a physician is, however.

So it's hard for me to decide whether articles like this one bug me because the conclusion oversimplifies the construct or because of professional jealousy. Hojat!

Post script: Also this one.

Posted by rbrent at 07:12 AM | Comments (0)