Humanistic medical care is an important element of quality health care, and teaching humanism is increasingly recognized as an integral component of medical education. The goal of this article is to illustrate a series of tools that are effective in fostering both the provision and teaching of humanistic medical care in the ambulatory setting. Through a series of discussions, workshops, literature review, and practice, the authors have identified critical elements that promote the teaching of humanistic care. These elements include establishing a humanistic learning climate, creating clear individualized learning goals within a framework of humanism, developing an educational diagnosis of the learner, integrating psychosocial issues into the teaching intervention, reflecting on the learning experience with the learner, providing feedback throughout the teaching encounter, and planning follow-up with the learner. Strategies for implementation of these critical elements are presented with an emphasis on efficient educational interactions as required by busy ambulatory settings. Through the effective use of these teaching strategies, one can promote the teaching of the human dimensions of care in the outpatient setting.
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