Interpersonal skills and the credibility of family medicine.
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While the discipline of family medicine has thrived in the last decade, the training programs in family medicine are still the subject of controversy. Older family doctors see the programs as an attack on the way they practice, rather than on the way they were trained. Acceptance of general licensure after a one year rotating internship shows that the two year program has not yet been accorded recognition. The teaching of family medicine has always placed strong emphasis on interpersonal skills, and has therefore tended to be judged by its ability in this area. However, there is still a prevailing belief that these skills are inherent, not taught, and therefore not to be credited to the excellence of the teaching programs. There is also a prevailing belief that these skills are `nice', but not essential. Evidence shows, however, that compliance is enhanced by physicians' interpersonal skills, and that there are definite strategies for acquiring such skills. The programs must find ways to convince the profession at large of these facts.
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