Friday, September 30, 2005

"Learning from the dying"

The current NEJM has a brief perspectives piece (free full text) by Susan Block & Andrew Billings about their class at Harvard Medical School that links up medical students with dying patients.  Mostly the piece is a call to improve end of life training & concludes with this:
"But students and physicians, throughout their years of training, need appropriate learning opportunities and practice to address death, dying, and the human experience of medical practice. Unfortunately, the "hidden curriculum" of contemporary medicine — especially the hurried, disease-centered, impersonal, high-throughput clinical years — still tends to undermine the best intentions of students and faculty members and the best interests of patients and families. Medical schools, residencies, and continuing medical education programs can help learners and their patients by investing in expanded training in palliative care and by hiring and training faculty members who, at all stages of medical training, can model and teach these fundamental skills."
Well said.  There's also an 8 minute interview with a medical student and Susan Block about the course which is worth listening to.

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