Sunday, August 21, 2005

Improving Empathy in Medical Training

Used worldwide, The Empathy Belly  has proven itself to be an extremely beneficial teaching tool resource for medical students, obstetrical physicians and allied professionals in the fields of Maternity Health Care and Education. By wearing The Empathy Belly they significantly increase their understanding and sensitivity about the pregnant condition. Consequently they are better trained, more effective, and more likely to establish genuine rapport with the pregnant women in their care. For obvious reasons, this is especially true for service providers who are male, or women who have never experienced a full-term pregnancy.
No thanks.  But seriously, we all know that many doctors need to be more empathic.  A Google search on the string, "empathy in medical training" gets about 745,000 hits (including the one above).  Many medical schools have incorporated empathy training into their curricula.  Even so, the problem persists.  We see articles in the NYT such as Awash in Information, Patients Face a Lonely, Uncertain Road; also see Sick and Scared, and Waiting, Waiting, Waiting, for an additional perspective on the problem.  

Later, I encountered a physician's essay on the topic of empathy: Empathy: Lost or Found in Medical Education? (Medscape: free registration required) by Sonal Singh, MD, that inspired me to write this post.  Continue reading here.

Categories: medicine, being nice
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