Walking a mile in their patients' shoes: empathy and othering in medical students' education [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 3 (1):10 (2008)
One of the major tasks of medical educators is to help maintain and increase trainee empathy for patients. Yet research suggests that during the course of medical training, empathy in medical students and residents decreases. Various exercises and more comprehensive paradigms have been introduced to promote empathy and other humanistic values, but with inadequate success. This paper argues that the potential for medical education to promote empathy is not easy for two reasons: a) Medical students and residents have complex and mostly unresolved emotional responses to the universal human vulnerability to illness, disability, decay, and ultimately death that they must confront in the process of rendering patient care b) Modernist assumptions about the capacity to protect, control, and restore run deep in institutional cultures of mainstream biomedicine and can create barriers to empathic relationships. In the absence of appropriate discourses about how to emotionally manage distressing aspects of the human condition, it is likely that trainees will resort to coping mechanisms that result in distance and detachment. This paper suggests the need for an epistemological paradigm that helps trainees develop a tolerance for imperfection in self and others; and acceptance of shared emotional vulnerability and suffering while simultaneously honoring the existence of difference. Reducing the sense of anxiety and threat that are now reinforced by the dominant medical discourse in the presence of illness will enable trainees to learn to emotionally contain the suffering of their patients and themselves, thus providing a psychologically sound foundation for the development of true empathy
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
William E. Stempsey (1999). The Quarantine of Philosophy in Medical Education: Why Teaching the Humanities May Not Produce Humane Physicians. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 2 (1):3-9.
Dorothy M. Owens (1999). Hospitality to Strangers: Empathy and the Physician-Patient Relationship. OUP USA.
Kate Rossiter (2012). Bearing Response-Ability: Theater, Ethics and Medical Education. [REVIEW] Journal of Medical Humanities 33 (1):1-14.
Jerome Lowenstein (2005). The Midnight Meal and Other Essays About Doctors, Patients, and Medicine. University of Michigan Press.
Susan Verducci (2000). A Moral Method? Thoughts on Cultivating Empathy Through Method Acting. Journal of Moral Education 29 (1):87-99.
Clement A. Adebamowo (2010). Medical Ethics Education: A Survey of Opinion of Medical Students in a Nigerian University. [REVIEW] Journal of Academic Ethics 8 (2):85-93.
R. Marshall & A. Bleakley (2009). The Death of Hector: Pity in Homer, Empathy in Medical Education. Medical Humanities 35 (1):7-12.
Jessica Pierce (2008). Mice in the Sink. Environmental Philosophy 5 (1):75-96.
Martin L. Hoffman (2001). How Automatic and Representational is Empathy, and Why. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (1):38-39.
Marjorie O'Loughlin (1998). Overcoming the Problems of Difference in Education: Empathy as Intercorporeality. [REVIEW] Studies in Philosophy and Education 17 (4):283-293.
K. Danner Clouser (1990). Humanities in Medical Education: Some Contributions. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 15 (3):289-301.
Syed Mamun Mahmud & Aasim Ahmad (2009). Patients as Teaching Tools: Merely Informed or True Consent. [REVIEW] Journal of Academic Ethics 7 (4):255-260.
Walter Burger (2001). The Relation Between Medical Education and the Medical Profession's World View. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 4 (1):79-84.
Dan C. English (1989). Using Animals for the Training of Physicians and Surgeons. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 10 (1).
Schuyler W. Henderson (2002). Medical Student Elegies: The Poetics of Caring. Journal of Medical Humanities 23 (2):119-132.
Added to index2010-08-24
Total downloads4 ( #235,891 of 1,096,372 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #130,630 of 1,096,372 )
How can I increase my downloads?