Patient Satisfaction with Bedside Teaching Rounds Compared with Nonbedside Rounds

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Many barriers have been cited in reference to why bedside teaching rounds have decreased in frequency during graduate medical education. One perceived barrier to the use of bedside teaching rounds is a fear of it causing patient discomfort or dissatisfaction. The objective of this study was to compare patient perception of bedside versus nonbedside teaching rounds.


Study participants were adults admitted to a family medicine inpatient team at a large university teaching hospital. Upon admission, participants were randomized to receive bedside or nonbedside teaching rounds conducted by a team consisting of medical students, family medicine residents, and one attending physician. Each participant completed a questionnaire administered on the day of discharge assessing patients’ perception of their involvement in medical decision making, trust in the medical team, satisfaction with care, and provider compassion. Statistical analysis was performed to examine any differences between the two groups.


The vast majority of the sample indicated that they knew what they were being treated for in the hospital (n = 105, 98%), reported the medical team spent an adequate amount of time with them (n = 100, 94%), and reported the medical team explained the diagnosis and care in easy-to-understand terms (n = 101, 94%). On 1- to 5-point scales, participants reported that the medical team involved them in making decisions (4.62, standard deviation [SD] 0.72), they trusted the medical team (4.91, SD 0.32), they were satisfied with their care (4.85, SD 0.38), and their medical team was compassionate toward them (4.84, SD 0.44). Overall levels of satisfaction were positive on all of the measures, with no statistical significance between the two groups regarding measures of involvement in medical decision making, trust in the medical team, and satisfaction with care. Interestingly, subjects perceived level of compassion of their medical team to be significantly higher with a bedside teaching approach compared with a nonbedside approach.


Despite concerns that bedside teaching rounds may lead to patient discomfort, this study found no evidence supporting this perception. In fact, patients may perceive a medical team that engages in bedside teaching rounds as being more compassionate providers, supporting a patient-centered argument that teaching rounds should return to the bedside.

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