09/07/2014 05:00 EDT | Updated 11/06/2014 05:59 EST

Doctors' bedside manner put to the test

A doctor’s bedside manner is a crucial component of medical training that’s now being objectively evaluated at a Toronto hospital.

Orthopedic surgery residents are put through their paces on how they communicate with disgruntled family members about delays in surgery, how they break a cancer diagnosis to patients and four other common scenarios.

The simulations with actor "patients" test six soft skills in a bedside exam that evaluates residents and helps them to improve their communication.

Previously, medical residents’ soft skills were examined on paper.

In the latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Surgery, Dr. Tim Dwyer of Women’s College Hospital and his team concluded that the simulations were valid and reliable to use in an orthopedic residency program.

Dwyer believes the tool has the potential to spread to other specialties.

Watch CBC-TV’s Kim Brunhuber tag along with second-year orthopedic surgery resident Catherine Donlin and third-year resident David Burns as they take the test.