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Revista Brasileira de Educação Médica

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ROSSI-BARBOSA, Luiza Augusta Rosa et al. Patients' perceptions of nonverbal communication in medical care. Rev. bras. educ. med. [online]. 2010, vol.34, n.3, pp.363-370. ISSN 0100-5502.

Trust in the physician and therapeutic success both depend on good physician-patient communication, among other factors. This study focused on patients' perceptions of nonverbal communication that influence the consolidation of trust in their physicians. This was a cross-sectional, descriptive, analytical study with a random sample of patients in public places in a Brazilian city. A total of 182 interviews were held with persons ranging in age from 18 to 88 years. Interviewees showed a preference for the traditional doctor's profile: white coat, neatly trimmed hair, and no accessories. Moderate use of makeup and accessories (earrings, bracelets, etc.) by women was considered acceptable. Interviewees, especially the elderly, expressed restrictions towards the use of piercing, tattoos, and earrings by male physicians. Confirming the importance of appearance in the physician-patient communication, the study highlights the need to include the topic in the medical curriculum - since these issues are not discussed sufficiently during undergraduate medical training - which would allow reflection on nonverbal communication in the physician-patient relationship and could positively influence the attitudes of young professionals.

Keywords : Nonverbal Communication; Attitude of Health Personnel; Physician-Patient Relations.

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