Despite widespread recognition that positive physician-patient interactions are beneficial to the treatment of disease, medical students and residents still receive little effective training in the human dimensions of their craft, according to a consensus of expert teachers published in the Sept. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Humanism in medicine can be taught most effectively not through formal coursework, but through interactions that occur directly at the patient’s bedside, the article concludes. Physicians at six academic medical centers, led by William T. Branch, Jr., M.D., professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, conducted informal, one-on-one surveys of more than 50 faculty physicians nationwide who teach medical students and residents in a variety of educational settings. They analyzed the data to determine the extent to which humanism is a part of medical education and to discover barriers that may prevent physicians-in-training from receiving humanistic education. In their consensus article, the authors suggest pragmatic methods to improve medical education through the teaching of humanism within clinical settings as a part of bedside interactions.
The above story is based on materials provided by Emory University Health Sciences Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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