To explore the ways in which biomedical culture responds to the new curricular addition of communication skills training, we observed activities related to the communication skills training of a class of 70 first-year medical students in an Israeli medical school during 2002-3. In addition, focus groups were conducted with medical students (n = 210) during 1998-2001. A gap was found between the rhetoric of "patient-centered communication" and "empathy" and the traditional concerns of medical authority, efficiency, and scientism. Communication skills and empathy training were appropriated into medical socialization by being reconstructed as clinical competence. Findings are further discussed in the context of medical professionalism, Israeli culture, service acting and service roles, and organizational learning.
- Biomedical culture
- Communication skills training
- Medical education and socialization
- Organizational learning