CPM Winter 2020 - 9

daup h i n c m s .o rg

these pillars work together toward a more
modern patient-centric interpretation of
medical education through their evolving
definitions and their application in the
Penn State curriculum.

BENEATH THE LAYERS
OF SCIENTIFIC
AND CLINICAL
KNOWLEDGE,
MEDICINE IS A
SPECIALTY IN WHICH
WE ARE GIVEN A
PRIVILEGE:
TO WORK WITH
PEOPLE AT THEIR
MOST VULNERABLE.

The first pillar of "Biomedical Sciences"
is simultaneously the most unchanged
from previous generations and the most
rapidly evolving. Students continue to learn
foundational and theoretical knowledge
via the traditional didactic experience of
lectures and textbooks. However, modern
technology, including the internet, has
transformed these processes in sometimes
unexpected ways. Cutting-edge research
is rapidly becoming the standard-of-care.
Technology gives new dimensions and
modes of visualization to the images which
would otherwise be printed on a page. The
knowledge base of medicine has expanded
internationally, and we are now all part of
that community whenever we study these
time working as a chaplain in a children's
biomedical sciences.
hospital was "Don't just do something, stand
For many medical education curricula there." Health humanities teaches us how to
throughout history, there was a distinct stand there properly. With patients, this may
division between biomedical sciences and mean learning how to listen properly, convey
clinical skills education. Currently, though, empathy, and demonstrate true compassion.
curricula are integrating clinical skills into With people in the medical field, standing
the didactic experience, and the two work there may mean being able to support one
together synergistically to benefit our another and hear when a caretaker needs
education. In one sense, this is a way of care themselves. Sometimes, we need to
enriching our didactic studies via hands-on stand there with ourselves and understand
practice of our material. In an even broader our own needs. Health humanities says that
sense, though, this is a measure to increase we need to be able to recognize the humanity
the comfort and safety of both patient within patients, one another, and ourselves
and student upon entering our rotations. in order to care properly.
Clinical skills sessions immerse us into
Much of our identity as humans come
the healthcare experience by encouraging
from
the connections we make with one
carefully supervised practice of learned
another
and society at large. The science of
skills on actual patients. Through this
medicine
has its own unique connections
supervision, we ensure that whatever we
and
communications
that require specialized
"do," we do it well and safely.
instruction. Hence, the fourth pillar of
Beneath the layers of scientific and clin- education, "Health Systems Sciences." In
ical knowledge, medicine is a specialty in its most literal sense, this pillar covers the
which we are given a privilege: to work with systems underlying healthcare delivery, such
people at their most vulnerable. It is easy to as insurance, quality improvement protocols,
see this as an opportunity, a chance to act and staffing. Broadly, though, health systems
and help people. However, as young adult science attempts to answer the question of
fiction author John Green discussed in the "What systemic issue could be impacting a
podcast "The Anthropocene Reviewed," one person's health?" As we attempt to answer
of the greatest lessons learned during his this, we are challenged to consider social

environment, local resources, global trends,
and biomedical imbalances.
While these pillars have been addressed
rather separately, actual practice often finds
them to be inseparable, and many medical
education curricula have integrated these
aspects in different ways. At Penn State
College of Medicine, one notable site of
integration was in the Patients as Teachers
(PAT) Project. In this project, medical
students in teams of two were paired
with volunteer patients in order to learn
about the patients' medical journey. They
bookend the experience by developing a
project utilizing a creative media, such as
writing, visual arts, filmmaking, and so on,
based on this newfound understanding. The
humanistic aspect of this project is clear,
students learned about a patient as a person
and then connected to that person and their
experience through the arts. Many times,
the systems surrounding a patient, such as
familial support or access to medical care,
become important portions of their reflected
stories. Many of the PAT patients also allow
medical students to attend their medical
appointments, providing a unique window
into clinical and biomedical experiences
from a patient's perspective.
Ultimately, PAT is a microcosm of the
changing face of medical education. We
no longer see one, but rather learn about
one. We no longer do one, but rather
practice one with patients as our guide. We
no longer teach one, but rather are taught
by one. The one, in essence, is no longer
a procedure, but instead, is the person.

SOURCES:
https://med.psu.edu/md
https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/anthropocene-reviewed/episodes/
anthropocene-reviewed-auld-lang-syne

Central PA Medicine Winter 2020 9


http://www.dauphincms.org https://med.psu.edu/md https://www.wnycstudios.org/pod

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/Summer2018
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CPMWinter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Summer17
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Spring17
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/CPAMed/CentralPAMedicine_Feb2017
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