Teaching Compassion

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Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 1:00pm

Class helps medical students improve their bedside manner.

House calls are an antiquated practice for doctors, but for medical students at the University of South Florida they are a critical part of the curriculum.

"I get to hear things I would not be able to crunch in to a 5-10 minute visit in a doctor's office," says first year medical student Chris Pothering.

Pothering is in the "Select" Program at the University of South Florida.

Not only did he have to pass the MCAT to get in, he had to pass an emotional intelligence test commonly taken by CEO candidates.

"We want to make sure that these students exhibit not only the qualities that will make them outstanding physicians, outstanding clinicians, but also leaders," explains Dr. Alicia Monroe, Vice Dean of Educational Affairs at USF's College of Medicine.

The heart of the program is making sure doctors have a heart.

There's a strong emphasis on teaching the students to see things from a patient's perspective, to get to know them and learn how their job, family and social life affect the decisions they make about their health.

That's why Pothering is taking the time to get to know patient Emma Donahue in her home environment.

As a competitive swimmer and busy high school student she's having trouble keeping her type one diabetes under control.

"It's really cool because you can talk for longer and explain things more thoroughly, its not in a sit-down doctor room where things are just black or white," she says.

By returning to an old practice in medicine students are hoping to pioneer a new model for healthcare.

The Select Program takes four years to complete.

Two are spent in Tampa, the second half is spent at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania with a focus on clinical education.
 

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