Your doctor could learn a thing or two from a Starbucks barista. That’s according to Dr. Peter Ubel – a physician and behavioral scientist at Duke University.

He says coffee chain workers are usually much better at responding to people’s emotional needs than doctors. Why? Because they’re trained to do so. They’re trained to figure out how a customer is feeling and respond to it.  Whereas doctors are solely focused on diagnosing an illness and prescribing treatment – when what a patient may really need is emotional care.

Dr. Ubel thinks doctors could learn something from the Starbucks employee customer training called the ”Latte Method” – which teaches workers how to handle angry customers and unpleasant situations.  The Latte method stands L: Listen. A: acknowledge the problem. T: Take action to solve the problem. The other T: thank them for bringing it to your attention. And E: explain what you’ve done to fix things. It calms the customer. And executives say that’ll lead to happier interactions and bigger profits - because the customer will feel their voice is heard and their problem is actually solved.

Compare that to a recent study of discussions between doctors and patients with cancer. Researchers found that doctors responded inappropriately to patients’ emotions 80 percent of the time, leaving them frustrated and upset. Dr. Ubel says that even though doctors devote years to medical training, there’s little – if any – emotional training. And that can make a HUGE difference in patient care. Ubel says

“Maybe we should require students to work at Starbucks before allowing them to apply to medical school!”