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School of Medicine discoveries

October 6, 2011

Professor pens NEJM essay on doctor-patient relationship

Lenore M. Buckley, M.D., has authored an essay published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Lenore Buckley, M.D.

In the piece, she writes compellingly about her interactions with a 9-year-old patient diagnosed with a life-altering chronic condition. Buckley chronicles their visits together, illustrating how she tries to build “a protective wall around him and his parents to hold back the wave of fear, vulnerability and loss of control that is rushing in as they realize something serious has occurred.”

She describes the doctor-patient relationship as a team that is formed in those critical moments and in which the patient is the most important member. Buckley challenges her readers “to remember the personal impact of the diagnoses we make and our ability and obligation to soften the blows, to build that protective wall.”

A professor of internal medicine, Buckley is one of the medical school’s stellar faculty and has been honored for modeling for our students the kind of compassion, communication and wisdom that is described in the NEJM essay.

She has served as medical director of the Rheumatology Teaching Clinic for 16 years and has been honored four times with the Department of Internal Medicine Teaching Excellence Award. In 2006, she received the VCU Health System’s highest honor for a physician when she was nominated by her fellow clinical faculty for the Distinguished Clinician Award. This fall, she received the Women in Science, Dentistry, and Medicine Professional Achievement Award.

Read Buckley’s Critical Moments — Doctors and Patients, one of four essays by well-known experts in the Oct. 6 issue’s Perspective section.

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Updated: 04/29/2016