|Journal||Anesthesiology, 2020-01-01, Volume 132 Find other publications in this journal|
Compassionate behavior in clinicians is described as seeking to understand patients' psychosocial, physical and medical needs, timely attending to these needs, and involving patients as they desire. The goal of our study was to evaluate compassionate behavior in patient interactions, pain management, and the informed consent process of anesthesia residents in a simulated preoperative evaluation of a patient in pain scheduled for urgent surgery.Forty-nine Clinical Anesthesia residents in year 1 and 16 Clinical Anesthesia residents in year 3 from three residency programs individually obtained informed consent for anesthesia for an urgent laparotomy from a standardized patient complaining of pain. Encounters were assessed for ordering pain medication, for patient-resident interactions by using the Empathic Communication Coding System to code responses to pain and nausea cues, and for the content of the informed consent discussion.Of the 65 residents, 56 (86%) ordered pain medication, at an average of 4.2 min (95% CI, 3.2 to 5.1) into the encounter; 9 (14%) did not order pain medication. Resident responses to the cues averaged between perfunctory recognition and implicit recognition (mean, 1.7 [95% CI, 1.6 to 1.9]) in the 0 (less empathic) to 6 (more empathic) system. Responses were lower for residents who did not order pain medication (mean, 1.2 [95% CI, 0.8 to 1.6]) and similar for those who ordered medication before informed consent signing (mean, 1.9 [95% CI, 1.6 to 2.1]) and after signing (mean, 1.9 [95% CI, 1.6 to 2.0]; F (2, 62) = 4.21; P = 0.019; partial η = 0.120). There were significant differences between residents who ordered pain medication before informed consent and those who did not order pain medication and between residents who ordered pain medication after informed consent signing and those who did not.In a simulated preoperative evaluation, anesthesia residents have variable and, at times, flawed recognition of patient cues, responsiveness to patient cues, pain management, and patient interactions.