SEATTLE, WA – A study published Tuesday in The Journal of Graduate Medical Education reports that patient satisfaction scores increase significantly when patients are first seen by “that one really smart, thorough, young doctor.” The findings came as a shock to many in the field of medicine who previously had referred to that same person as, “that one really slow med student.”
The study – conducted in both outpatient and inpatient settings – initially hypothesized that patients seen by “that one really slow med student” would report abysmally-low patient satisfaction scores. It was assumed that patients would become agitated with the prolonged wait to see “the real doctor” and infuriated with the endless questions that seemingly had nothing to do with the reason for the patient’s visit.
“In fact, we found quite the opposite,” stated the study’s lead author, Dr. Gladys Johnson. “For every extra half-hour the med student spent in the room before the attending, we saw a 4-point increase in the patient’s Press Ganey rating. In one case, the med student spent an hour-and-a-half in the room discussing nothing more than the patient’s hydrangea bushes. Now they do brunch together every other weekend.”
Desperate to increase their patient satisfaction scores, clinic and hospital administrators have inundated medical school deans with requests to send them their most earnest and painfully slow students. Inpatient teams and outpatient clinicians must now figure out how to incorporate these students into their already over-crowded schedules. “Listen, I’d love to spend more time with my patients, but I don’t get home until after 7pm most days” said family medicine physician, Dr. Larry Boykins. “Now my clinic director wants that one really slow med student to see at least half of my patients.” Dr. Boykins abruptly ended the interview as his med student walked into the physician work-room. “Please excuse me,” Dr. Boykins apologized, “I have to hear about what Ms. Wilson’s grandkids did last week at summer camp.”
At press time, GomerBlog was unable to reach that one really slow med student for comment. According to senior Internal Medicine resident Dr. Brian Sampson, “Last I heard, he was still in the ER asking the cellulitis patient about his time in the war.”