Background. Physician-patient interaction during the medical interview is essential in establishing the rapport necessary for a successful relationship. Physicians are generally encouraged to shake hands with patients, address patients by name, and identify themselves. Objective. To define parents expectations for greetings by pediatricians and to determine the frequency with which these expectations are met. Design and methods. A total of 100 parents visiting the General Pediatric Clinic at Childrens Hospital of Michigan were recruited. Parents were interviewed at the end of their medical encounter to determine expectations for greeting by their doctor. They were questioned about preferences for shaking hands, the doctors' use of their names, and the way doctors should introduce themselves. They were then asked if the experience at this visit conformed to these expectations. Results. Overall, 81% of the parents were the childrens mother and 86% were African-American. Over 80% of parents expected physicians to shake hands; 70% of residents and 66% of attendings did. 88% of parents wanted to be addressed by their names; only 14% of residents and 24% of attending physicians did so. All of the parents wanted the physicians to introduce themselves; 84% of residents and 93% of attendings did so. Conclusions. Physicians neither shook hands with many parents who expected it, nor did they address parents by their last names. About 90% of physicians introduced themselves. These disappointingly low results may predispose to parent dissatisfaction. Attending physicians need to teach these small, but important features, and to model them as well.
- Parent satisfaction
- Parent-pediatrician interactions
- Parents' expectations
- Parents' greetings