Why is it Important to Teach Medical Students and Junior Doctors How to Ask Patients About Experiences of Abuse or Trauma?

Posted on September 26, 2016

This piece had its genesis in the questions posed to co-author Associate Professor Mike Salzberg (Consultation-liaison psychiatrist) when teaching medical students and junior doctors. The issue at hand was if they should ask about a history of trauma such as sexual abuse, and how should they appropriately handle often sensitive disclosures from patients. At the time, I was undertaking a registrar term in Consultation-liaison psychiatry and teamed up with A/Prof Salzberg, and later two other experts in the medical education field to review the literature around this and think about how we might stimulate further discussion in this area.

Reference

Eliciting and responding to patient histories of abuse and trauma: challenges for medical education
Matta, G., Woodward-Kron, R. E., Petty, S., & Salzberg, M. R. (2016). Eliciting and responding to patient histories of abuse and trauma: challenges for medical education. The Medical journal of Australia, 205(6), 248.