The terms used by physicians of varying experience levels to discuss and represent medical problems

Susan Carol Skolnick, Fordham University

Abstract

This study was an investigation to determine if there were statistical differences among three groups of physicians of varying experience levels in how they used language in medical problem representation in (a) mentioning of medical terms stated in the vignette, (b) repetition of the medical terms in the vignette, (c) proportion of medical terms mentioned from the range, (d) repetition of medical terms mentioned, (e) proportion of medical terms to total words, (f) number of relational terms to medical words mentioned and (g) that each of the medical cases was independent of the others. Subjects were 12 physicians from Chicago area hospitals. There were four physicians in each of three groups: first year residents, third year residents, and attending physicians. The stimulus material consisted of five case vignettes concerning varied medical problems typically found in a medical intensive care unit.^ The physicians' responses to questions about the vignettes were tape recorded and later typed, and these typed records of the physicians' verbal protocols were analyzed in regard to range and frequency. The data were coded separately for each medical case and were analyzed in six repeated measures analyses of variance. A Pearson correlation coefficient matrix was utilized to determine the relationship between the variables.^ The results were significant for the within factor (cases) on the average repetition of the medical terms stated in the vignette, on medical words to total words, and on the average repetition of the range of medical terms. The results were significant for group on the proportion of medical words compared to total words. Since attending physicians have more medical experience, they focus more on the use of medical terms in their discussions of medical problems than less experienced physicians. Further research should continue to study the differences among physicians of varying experience levels so that this information can then be applied to improvements in physician training programs. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Education|Communication|School counseling|Health sciences

Recommended Citation

Skolnick, Susan Carol, "The terms used by physicians of varying experience levels to discuss and represent medical problems" (1993). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9328422.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9328422

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