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Training Physicians for Empathy

Ryan Chiavetta, for HealthLeaders Media, August 8, 2014

"It was very emotional, a lot of the students were crying," said Kelley. "I heard later from several of the residents that they will never forget it. To have that time to listen to parents tell their story really stuck with them."

Understanding Failure
Lessons learned from the lecture didn't just focus on the emotional handling of stillborn parents. With the parents discussing their anger and frustration with parts of their treatment, it taught physicians how to deal with the notion of failure.

"One of the hardest things to teach in medicine is how to handle not being perfect, that you can't always save patients," said Kelley. "These parents were very generously teaching that."

The success of last year's session has prompted Kelley to plan a second session with new parents in October.

The programs at Thomas Jefferson and GAPPS highlight a vital side of medicine that will only grow in importance as the industry continues to change.

"The more innovative we can be, the more we can try to adapt to the changes in the healthcare setting, which are becoming so demanding and difficult," says Kelley. "Trainees are under pressure to learn so much information that we are going uphill in terms of trying to round out their experiences to include the emotional and psychological aspects of care."

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1 comments on "Training Physicians for Empathy"


bettynoyes (8/8/2014 at 12:13 PM)
I am hopeful that this will help a "Tad"..