Humanistic education in surgery: a “patient as teacher” program for surgical clerkship

Humanistic education in surgery: a “patient as teacher” program for surgical clerkship

Can J Surg 2020;63(3):E257-E260 | PDF | Appendix

Jory Simpson, MD, MEd; Stella Ng, PhD; Emilia Kangasjarvi, MSc; Csilla Kalocsai, PhD; Aimee Hindle, MPH; Arno Kumagai, MD; Tulin Cil, MD, MEd; Darlene Fenech, MD, MSc; Najma Ahmed, MD, PhD; Ori Rotstein, MD, MSc

Summary

Surgeons are frequently perceived by medical students to be uncompassionate, resolute and individualistic. Surgical education often prioritizes teaching and learning approaches that perpetuate these perceptions. In other specialties, engaging patients in education has shown promise in refocusing attention from the technical and procedural aspects of care toward the humanistic and social aspects. Despite proven favourable outcomes for both patients and students in many clinical areas, a “patient as teacher” approach to surgical education has yet to be adopted widely in Canada. A patient as teacher program was developed for surgical clerks at the University of Toronto with the goal of emphasizing the humanity of the patient, the psychosocial impact of a surgical diagnosis of breast cancer on patients and their families, and the social and humanistic roles for surgeons in providing patient-centred care. We report on the program’s development process and pilot session.


Accepted Sept. 16, 2019

Acknowledgement: The authors thank Farah Friesen for her help preparing the manuscript.

Affiliations: From the Division of General Surgery, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. (Simpson, Ahmed, Rotstein); the Centre for Faculty Development, St. Michael’s Hospital and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. (Ng); Applied Education Research Operatives, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ont. (Kangasjarvi); Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. (Kalocsai); Academiec Affairs, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ont. (Hindle;) Women’s College Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. (Kumagai); the University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. (Cil); and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont. (Fenech).

Funding: Funding for this program is through an Education Development Fund (EDF) grant from the University of Toronto, an Innovation Grant from St. Michael’s Hospital, and a generous donation from Catherine P. Viner of Toronto.

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: All authors contributed substantially to the conception, writing and revision of this article and approved the final version for publication.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.005319

Correspondence to: J. Simpson, Division of General Surgery, St. Michael’s Hospital, 30 Bond St, Toronto ON M5B1W7, simpsonjo@smh.ca