Einstein Revisited Medicines New Formula (Published 2015)
Apr 06, 2016
Arawi T and Berri N
This paper discusses the implementation of “Physicians, Patients and Society” courses in a curriculum with the aim of providing future physicians with the tools to become healers in the art of medicine and not just practitioners in its science.
Contemporary medicine is said to be faltering in fulfilling its internal ends which aims at caring for the whole person. Physicians have assumed the role of “skilled technicians” who attempt at treating the diseases, often ignoring the person who has the disease. At the American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine (AUBFM), we introduced the Physicians, Patients and Society (PPS) course series in an attempt at graduating physician healers who look at patients multidimensionally as individuals with an illness instead of a disease to be cured. This article describes PPS-2, one of the four PPS courses required to medical students at the AUBFM. PPS-2 comprises four modules: 1) Palliative Care and the Whole Patient 2) Spirituality in Medicine 3) Bioethics and Patient Care and 4) Caring Spotlight Experience 2 (CSE-2).
Upon completion of the course, students expressed different perceptions of illness and their duty in patient care. We hope that PPS-2 will ensure future physicians appreciate their role in making the patient feel better, regardless of whether there is a cure or not and to appreciate that, in order to live up to its ideal, the profession of medicine will have to work by a new formula: M=EC2.
I think it is very unlikely that anyone could argue against the need for the types of instruction that are described in this paper, nor their underlying philosophy.
This paper will be useful for others who wish to follow suit. However, the long term impact of such courses is most important and I hope to hear about how these courses affected the graduating physician and how applicable the were to the real world at a later date.
This is a descriptive paper of a new humanities course called Physicians, Patients and Society set up in the American University of Beirut. Apparently the content is unique in the Arab world. This paper will be useful for those who wish to follow suit and set up humanities within their curriculum. Particular emphasis on communication of patients with their physician and inter-professional communication between physicians and nurses is emphasized. To quote the authors, they want physicians to have the requisite tools to become healers in the art of medicine and not just practitioners in its science. I enjoyed some of their definitions "questions about meaning and purpose of life are considered spiritual issues". A major outcome of such a course is embedding of empathy as a clinical skill. Doctors should not just be technicians but healers. I would go further and say a key role for the doctor is also to be the patients advocate. There is no data but the paper may help medical students to understand the challenges in their profession.
This paper offers a description of a new course in a Medical Curriculum that intends to offer medical students insights into the art and humanity of the medical profession. I know that this aspect of a medical degree can be surprising and disconcerting for many students who were expecting to have a role as trained technicians and to study biology 'applied' to medical situations. I was hoping that the authors would describe the challenges associated with embedding such a programme within the curriculum. I know that as a module lead for a similar module that the students encounter as soon as they arrive at medical school, students often find the subject matter challenging. Challenging because they had not studied many of these topics or subjects before they attended medical school; challenging because it deals with uncertainty and no fixed answers or solutions; challenging because it is not whether envisaged in their pre conceived ideas of a medical school curricula? Did the authors find similar challenges when they introduced this course?