Lessons from “the other side”: teaching and learning from doctors’ illness narratives

Doctors who become patients can tell quite a lot about the doctor-patient relationship.
Lessons for “the other side”: reviews doctors’ illness narratives. The blog presents us for quotes like:
“I had become a psychiatric patient and am embarrassed to say the stigma made me feel physically sick. I felt ashamed of being “weak” and hated the idea that personal information and “failings” were going to be kept on an NHS database. As a psychiatrist it is deplorable that I had such negative cognitions about mental illness. I can put some of it down to my depressed thinking at the time, but not all of it.”

Or this one:
Complaints that doctors fail to see the person in the patient go back to 192741 and continue to the present day42. The introduction to a book1 (p.xiv) published in 1952 containing short essays by doctors with conditions as varied as heart disease and tuberculosis concluded,

“The first need … is the recognition … that every disease is psychosomatic, that is, that it effects both body and soul.”

A Better NHS

An abridged version was published on the British Medical Journal website here and the full version is below.

I am happy to teach medical students, doctors and educators – I am teaching in london this week and next. For a public discussion I am presenting at Critical Voices on July 5th with artist Emma Barnard on the theme of how do we know how patients feel and why does it matter?

Contexts

 

Doctors have written about their experiences as patients for years in the hope that other doctors might learn something from what they have been through. They are motivated by the often-shocking realisation that medical education and clinical practice have prepared them so poorly. They are keen to explain what it is like to be a patient, the particular problems that doctors have coping with illness and the health risks associated with their profession1-3. Their continued…

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Reklamer

Om Mette Breinholdt

I am a Danish journalist and medical anthropologist. Professionally I am interested in health-systems and interactions in the world of health. That is between providers and patients, groups within the system, patients experiences and not least health-communication. Based on this interest I run the consultation bureau: Hermes Interaktion providing consultancy within the health sector; running courses and speaks. I am married and mother of four with additional two step-children and one grandchild (for now).
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