Saturday, November 19, 2005

Touchy-feely medical course?

A kind medical student colleague, who is currently still stuck in the 'old' medical course with lectures, lectures and more lectures, considers the Problem-based Learning medical course as 'touchy-feely'. What does that mean?

The problem with the old course was that doctors know their stuff, but they treat their patients with condescension and superiority (not unlike how the 'old course' medical student commented on PBL students :P). Little emphasis is placed on research and continuing self-education.

The new course attempted to address this by being more clinically relevant, introduction of communication classes and earlier exposure to patients for the purpose of communication studies rather than disease-studies. Of course, with significant reduction in formal teaching time, it is almost impossible to cover in as much depth the many different disciplines that make up Medicine.

Some say that the new medical course produce doctors who know little anatomy. I say it produces doctors who can communicate well with patients and learn things as they practice medicine. Sometimes patients don't really care if doctors know about that tiny little vestigial ligament, what they really want is some help - To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always.

3 comments:

Todd said...

The ending quote is spot on. WOOT!

Kok Hoong said...

i think without good and strong knowledge on anatomy, a doctor wont be complete and whole. Just my opinion though.

samip dattani said...

i'm a med student.. u think saying comforting words, holding the patient's hand and 'being there' for the patient really helps except for fooling his brain in thinking that he's being cared for? we should not get too carried away by all this and do our primary jobs first. our responsibility is to get our knowledge in place which is in our heads..at all times.. compassion and empathy along with soft skills are added bonus which help in private practice