A good doctor-patient relationship is central to the task of gathering information and providing treatment, especially in psychiatry. In a teaching hospital this relationship may be complicated by the presence of one or more medical students, watching in an uninvolved fashion, and possibly changing from visit to visit. If the students are seated to one side or even behind him, the patient may feel increasingly uncomfortable about exposing personal material in the absence of any visual feedback. A passive audience may be permissible in a general medical setting where information is less personal and amateur status is masked behind white uniforms. In psychiatry, however, the youthfulness and comparative immaturity of students may be heightened by casual dress and less formal clinics.
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