Responses to the Interviewer

Much of the enjoyment of medical practice comes from talking with patients. Each patient brings a challenge to the interviewer. Just as there are no two identical interviews, there are no two people who would interview the same patient in the same manner. This section describes a few characteristically troubling patient "types" and indicates some strategies for how the interview may be modified in each case.

Many of the patients to be described can arouse intensely negative feelings in the interviewer; as such, these patients have been collectively called ''the hateful patient.'' The interviewer should recognize these feelings and deal with them directly so that they do not interfere with the interaction. The interviewer must recognize early in the interaction the general characteristics of these patient types so that he or she can facilitate the interview appropriately.

A variety of pejorative labels have unfortunately been given to many of these patient types. The labels serve only to reduce the interviewer's stress through the use of humor. This humor is demeaning to patients and can ultimately prevent them from receiving the proper medical care they deserve.

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