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A Research Proposal on Doctor-patient Relationship: Communication and Trust. A Case Study of Benue State

A Research Proposal on Doctor-patient Relationship Communication and Trust. A Case Study of Benue State

A Research Proposal on Doctor-patient Relationship: Communication and Trust. A Case Study of Benue State


Objectives of the Study

The specific objectives of this study will include:

  1. To assess the current state of communication between doctors and patients in Benue State.
  2. To examine the level of trust between doctors and patients in Benue State.
  3. To identify socio-cultural factors influencing the doctor-patient relationship in Benue State.


Literature Review

Doctor-Patient Relationship

The foundation of healthcare delivery is the doctor-patient interaction, which affects patient satisfaction and results (Pearson & Raeke, 2020). It includes the interactions that are marked by mutual respect, communication, and trust between patients and healthcare practitioners (Agarwal & Murinson, 2022). This dynamic and complex interaction is shaped by a number of variables, including personal choices, healthcare regulations, and cultural conventions (Levy, 2021).

Strong doctor-patient relationships require effective communication (Diaz et al., 2022). In order to establish mutual understanding and well-informed decision-making, it entails the sharing of knowledge, concepts, and feelings between patients and healthcare professionals (Swami, 2017). Healthcare practitioners may provide individualized care and attend to patients’ requirements when there is open and honest communication between them and the patients. Patients can communicate their worries, preferences, and treatment goals (Chin, 2021).

One further essential element of the doctor-patient connection is trust (Birkhäuer et al., 2017). According to Hall et al. (2021) patients need to have confidence in their healthcare providers to make well-informed decisions, act in their best interests, and deliver competent care. Building trust takes time and requires being competent and honest, treating patients with respect, and honoring their autonomy (Goold, 2020).

The doctor-patient relationship is greatly influenced by cultural competence, especially in varied healthcare contexts (Mills, 2022). Healthcare professionals need to be cognizant of and considerate of their patients’ cultural traditions, attitudes, and beliefs (Eric et al., 2022). Building trust with patients from different origins, providing culturally sensitive treatment, and navigating cultural variations in healthcare encounters are all made possible by cultural competence (Banerjee & Sanyal, 2022).

Communication in Healthcare

According to Ha and Longnecker (2020), communication is a critical component of healthcare that supports the doctor-patient connection and has an impact on patient outcomes. Healthcare practitioners and patients must share knowledge, feelings, and decisions in order for communication to be effective (Travaline et al., 2005). Building rapport and trust in healthcare encounters requires a range of skills, including active listening, empathy, and verbal and nonverbal exchanges (Meyer et al., 2020).

Furthermore, it is crucial to maintain open and honest communication in order to guarantee patient comprehension and well-informed decision-making (Isaac et al., 2020). Healthcare professionals should use straightforward English instead of jargon when communicating medical information to patients so that it is easily understood (Jha et al., 2021). Better treatment adherence and health outcomes result from patient education and shared decision-making processes, which enable patients to actively engage in their care (Anhang Price et al., 2020).

Breakdowns in communication, however, are frequent in healthcare environments and can have detrimental effects on patient safety and the standard of treatment (McKinstry et al., 2022). Medication errors, treatment delays, and adverse events can result from miscommunication issues, such as poor instructions or misread information (Levy, 2021). For this reason, efficient communication techniques and instruments—like electronic health records and standardised communication protocols—are essential for lowering mistakes and enhancing patient outcomes (Gerber & Eiser, 2021).




Research Design

The research design will guide the study’s approach and methodology (Saunders et al., 2019). In this study, a quantitative survey research design will be employed. This design will allow for the collection of structured data from a large sample size, facilitating statistical analysis to address the research objectives effectively (Bell, 2022).

Population of the Study

The target population for this study will consist of healthcare professionals and patients in Benue State, Nigeria, totaling 171 respondents. Healthcare professionals will include doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel, while patients will encompass individuals seeking medical care in healthcare facilities within Benue State. This population will be chosen to obtain insights from both healthcare providers and patients to explore the doctor-patient relationship comprehensively.

Sampling Technique and Sample Size

A simple random sampling technique will be adopted to select participants from the target population. This technique will ensure that each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected, enhancing the representativeness of the sample (Easterby-Smith et al., 2018). The sample size of 120 respondents will be determined using the Taro Yamane sample size formula, taking into account the total population size and the desired level of confidence (Charan & Biswas, 2019).


  • Agarwal, A. K., & Murinson, B. B. (2022). New dimensions in patient–physician interaction: Values, autonomy, and medical information in the patient-centred clinical encounter. Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal, 3(1), e0017.
  • Akerkar, S. M., & Bichile, L. S. (2020). Doctor-patient relationship: Changing dynamics in the information age. Journal of Postgraduate Medicine, 50(2), 120-122.
  • Al-Temimi, M., Kidon, M., & Johna, S. (2022). Accreditation council for graduate medical education core competencies at a community teaching hospital: Is there a gap in awareness? The Permanente Journal, 20, 69-73.
  • Anhang Price, R., Elliott, M. N., Zaslavsky, A. M., Hays, R. D., Lehrman, W. G., et al. (2020). Examining the role of patient experience surveys in measuring healthcare quality. Medical Care Research and Review, 71(5), 522-554.
  • Banerjee, A., & Sanyal, D. (2022). Dynamics of doctor–patient relationship: A cross-sectional study on concordance, trust, and patient enablement. Journal of Family and Community Medicine, 19(1), 12-19.
  • Beiske, B. (2017). Research methods: Uses and limitations of questionnaires, interviews and case studies. GRIN Verlag.
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