Medical education can be isolating and even diminish the very qualities that we seek in a caring, humane, compassionate physician.
Efforts nationwide to address the stress, competition and dehumanization too often experienced by physicians in training are underway at several US medical schools.
Dr Patterson teaches such courses in the UK College of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine.
Participation in such courses has been shown to reduce medical student anxiety (including test anxiety), depression, isolation and competitiveness.
There is often an increased sense of self awareness, improved quality of relationships with peers, increased emotional well-being and more success maintaining self care behaviors, including physical activity and healthy nutrition
The Healer’s Art-
Reclaiming the Heart of Medicine
This elective is being taught at over 90 medical schools including Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford, UCSF, Vanderbilt and Yale. Four sessions meet in the evenings to accommodate student schedules.
– To help medical students and faculty recognize, value, enhance and preserve the human dimension in health care
– To enable students and faculty to experience the core values of the Hippocratic Oath as a way of life – including compassion, service, harmlessness, reverence for life, and covenant
– To enable students and faculty to experience a collegial relationship that exemplifies “primum non nocere” (first, do no harm)
– To recognize the potential for a harmless relationship between professionals that is non-judgmental, non-competitive and that offers unique support and healing.
The Course uses a “discovery” model that encourages honest and mutually respectful sharing of experience, beliefs, values, and personal truths. Faculty participate as fellow human beings, not as experts – they are essentially taking the course along with the students. One former medical student said, “I see people from the Healer’s Art course all the time in elevators, corridors, classes and on rotations. Whenever I see anyone from the course, I know that the values I carry in my heart are true.”
We meet 4 times, 2.5 hour each time, Pass/Fail 1 hour elective credit. There is no exam.
Session titles include:
- Nurturing Our Wholeness
- Sharing Grief and Honoring Loss
- Allowing Awe and Mystery in Medicine
- Care of the Soul- Service as a Way of Life