Preparing Future Physicians Shifts to Patient-Centered Care

This blog is by guest bloggist Brenda Evers

Grand Rounds is a well established method of health care continuing education.  These often follow the format of a physician “presenting the medical problems and treatment of a particular patient to an audience consisting of doctors, residents and medical students. The patient (is) traditionally present for the round and answer(s) questions.  Grand Rounds help doctors and other healthcare professionals keep up to date in important evolving areas which may be outside of their core practice.”*

But health education and Grand Rounds are evolving.  Both the focus and the content are changing.  Besides traditional topics of disease and medical treatment, spirituality, CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) and integrative medicine are often the topics at these meetings. (Howard University Hospital* and University of North Carolina* and the University of Arizona*)

The trend towards spirituality and CAM in health education can further be seen at the Mayo Clinic* which is educating its students and staff on the connection of forgiveness to health and offers some helpful suggestions to accomplish forgiveness. And the Oregon Collaborative for Integrative Medicine* offers classes in health coaching and fostering empathy.

According to studies and surveys, medical schools, hospitals and clinics are adding new approaches to treatment and care as a result of public demand for greater patient-centered, compassionate and “whole person” care.  Over a decade ago, the White House Commission on Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Policy* reported on the possible “convergence of CAM and mainstream healthcare”.  Through its research, it verified the trend of health education and practice moving toward spirituality and CAM.  And it is obvious that this trend continues.

But perhaps the idea of incorporating spirituality and CAM into health care education and practice isn’t actually new but rather similar to a long established model—that of Jesus.  Not only did he take students or disciples and day by day teach them spirituality, he showed them by example how to heal.  One need only read the many accounts in the New Testament to see the results of spirituality put into practice and then taught to others. As in today’s CAM, the forgiveness, courage, and compassion expressed by Jesus healed by meeting the patients mental and physical needs.

So in some ways, perhaps we can think of Jesus’ example as the ultimate Grand Rounds.  In the presence of students eager to learn, he used parables and other words of wisdom, such as the Sermon on the Mount, to prepare his students’ thought for becoming healers.  He taught the compassion and courage needed in the face of daunting physical problems and resistance from the authorities of the day to his approach to healing.  Then he took the patients that came to him and applied the spiritual laws he had been teaching to his students, and the patients were healed.  Afterwards he sent his students out to practice what they had been taught.  And the results were successful, sometimes surprising even the students who were practicing this spiritual approach to healing disease and suffering.

Recent trends in healthcare education show that this interest in patient-centered care, including spiritual healing, will likely continue since the institutionalization of integrative medicine and CAM in hospitals and medical schools is based on public demand that grows every year.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_rounds

*http://www.spiritandmed.com/sm/grandrounds.php

*http://news.unchealthcare.org/empnews/2012/july18/surgerygr

*http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/events/grand_rounds/index.html

*http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/forgiveness/MH00131

*http://www.o-cim.org/

*http://www.whccamp.hhs.gov/fr2.html

Brenda is a writer who loves to learn about and share with readers the connection between spirituality and health. In addition, she is a Christian Science Practitioner in Ellicott City, Maryland.  She and her family spent many wonderful years in Southern California and now are happy to have returned to beautiful Maryland.