Communication Skills in the Life of Doctor: Duty to Make Patient to Feel Better

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  • Questions
  • Instructions
  • Evaluation
  • Deadline.

One day she bumps into a patient who has an appointment for a removal. Anna notices that the patient is very nervous and he tells her that he has just learned some bad news and that he is hesitating whether to stay or to leave. He is very anxious and worried and suddenly he starts crying. Apparently he has just been dismissed without previous notice and he is worrying about the future of his two young kids and the cost of the intervention. Anna is wondering whether to intervene or to refer him to a psychologist. Her first thought is “I’m not a psychologist, so that is not my problem”. The patient has plenty of pain and the teeth removal is urgent. What would be the right course of action?

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Has the concept of health changed in the last decades? If the answer is affirmative, describe the evolution of such concept and indicate which dimensions of the human being are nowadays included into the concept of health that were not considered before.

Is the concept of health universal? Is there any social or political factor that affect it? 3. How has the health professional-patient relationship changed over the last decades? How has this relationship evolved?

Conclusion: taking into consideration the previous questions, what would be the right course of action for Anna?


This exercise is mandatory, thus all students must participate in their group. Group members have to look for relevant information related to the new concept and definition of health and the professional-patient relationship in order to answer the questions. All academic sources should be referenced following the APA style. Please, avoid using “popular” sources, such as personal blogs or Wikipedia, as main sources. Please, be careful regarding plagiarism.


  1. Written work.
  2. a. Word limit for answering each question is 350 words.

    b. Write references using the APA style (doesn’t count for the word limit).

  3. Grading a. Each question will have a maximum score of 2.
  4. a. References will have a maximum score of 2.

    b. Activity maximum total score:

Test of knowledge. The content of this activity is included into the final exam


a. Deadline for this activity Monday 24th September 2018 at 23:59.

  1. There is no such thing as being completely healthy. There are multiple factors that all contribute to a proper definition of health which explains the many modifications to its definition. The definition of health has evolved throughout the years. The definition of health today is not the same as in the past. In the past it was a more classic concept. Health was focused on physical factors and was defined as the absence of illness. It was more objective and only focused on the physical aspects of health ( physical abnormalities, health care, prescriptions, physical therapy, rehabilitation ). It was changed because the definition was in negative and it changed the concept of illness. Instead of explaining what health actually is it was explains what it isn’t. It’s like saying that a dog isn’t cat. Throughout the years, precisely in 1964 the meaning of health became more subjective. It was established by WHO ( World Health Organization ) which sets the standards for health care around the globe. Nowadays a proper definition of health focuses on social (avoid conflict with family members, maintaining relationship, work well with others...) mental (avoiding depression, anxiety,schizophrenia,…), physical ( eat well, exercise, avoid tobacco and alcohol,...), and economic ( working, good living conditions,...) factors. For example, physical well-being doesn’t mean that one is healthy because there are other factors such as mental factors ( depression, anxiety ) that can also influence our health. It also includes the patient’s opinions and feelings. For example when a patient goes to the doctors he asks more question about his illness and they have a say in how they want to be treated. They can refuse certain medications such as vaccines.
  2. Throughout the years, the definition of health has evolved. Nowadays, there is only one definition of health by WHO ( World Health Organization ). It means that health has one meaning and is universal. However it is not respected universally due to different problems that can occur in a country. According to the country, the society we live in, the government of the country, the concept of health varies. It is supposed to be universal but in some countries they do not have access to certain resources and that makes it impossible for the country to have proper health care. Social factors include poverty. For example, a child living in the streets in a third world country might be considered healthy there because he is not physically nor mentally ill but in a first world country, he will be considered unhealthy because he does not have proper living conditions. Political factors refers to the stability of the government ( corruption, instability, employment legislation ) and it has a big impact on the health of its population because they are not able to give them proper health care respecting the universal meaning of health. The concept go health, is universal however it is not respected in every country.
  3. The concept of trust between doctor and patient has gradually progressed over the years. In the past, there wasn’t really a bond between the patient and the health practitioner. It was only focused on the treatment that the patient should get and on the physical well-being of the patient. For example if the patient was suffering from depression while doing chemotherapy for cancer, the doctor would only focus on his patient recovering from cancer and not his depression. The relationship of the patient and doctor was strictly medical, no personal questions were asked by the doctor for instance. On the other hand, now there is a better bond between patient and doctor. This could be due to the evolution of technology because since the technological equipment have evolved, there are examinations that are made by the machines and not by the doctor himself making it easier for the doctor to have a friendly conversation with the patient. This creates a relationship that is not strictly medical. The professional and patient relationship also depends on the specialty of the doctor and how much time the doctor has to examine a patient. Also, nowadays patients have a bigger role in their treatment because their opinions are taken into consideration. They are also more involved in their health meaning that whenever they feel sick, they would go look online to ask questions to the doctor and understand where their sickness comes from.
  4. As a doctor, it is your role to calm the patient and make them feel better in every possible way even if it’s not your specialty. As the concepts of health have evolved and became more subjective including mental factors, the treatment given by the doctor cannot only include physical medication. It is a doctors duty to help in every possible way including mental problems. As a dentist, even if that part of the medical field focuses on the oral and buccal area of the human body, a dentist should be able to help a patient mentally. It is not their duty to cure depression but it is their duty to try and make the patient feel better about himself. First, as a doctor, she has to try to calm the patient down and understand his situation. Anna is not a psychologist, but as a dental intern she should have the psychological knowledge required to know how to calm a patient without the help of a superior. If she succeeds in calming him down she can proceed with the treatment. However, if she faces some difficulties she can ask for assistance from a professional, her supervisor or other colleagues. She also has the option of referring him to a psychologist 3 in order for him to get a more personal treatment according to his illness that is depression.

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