Current medical education promotes and encourages the textbook approach to learning, while interactive patient-centered learning rarely happens. Although rote learning plays a critical role in medical education, applying what is learned deepens the understanding and application of rote-learned materials. Undergraduate students can learn with supervision from instructors and patients, so they are prepared to practice medicine with excellence.
These trainees are learning the latest available techniques but lack the experiential wisdom of seasoned practitioners and the patient perspective.
Seasoned practitioners may be so in-demand that they lack time to keep up with every new change in practice and patients are hungry to learn what will work for them. Moreover, medical students are adequately trained to critically appraise the available evidence to make the best clinical decision in their practice. Medical curriculum and medical training should formally incorporate this and optimize their learning process.
Optimization could include students trained in critical thinking, methods of gaining evidence and providing a patient-centered learning experience.
Medical students can improve knowledge through conversational learning-while decreasing physician workloads and increasing patient satisfaction.
A co-produced, case-based conversational learning model to build communication, knowledge and skills with the potential for greater involvement in patient care needs to be devised. We must have a model where medical students are directly involved in patient care, discussing patient-centered evidence. At the same time, they will be building confidence in caring for patients and communicating with them to learn about their lives and needs, thus making a better doctor-patient relationship.
Having no particular rules in learning will prepare medical students to face real-life clinical problems and solve them in a step-by-step approach.
Case-based interactive conversational learning helps students to make out learning points in an exploratory manner and skills for critical appraisal of evidence.
Utilizing medical students in patient-centered learning allows them to interact closely with patients, actively listen to them, and know a patient as a whole.
Knowing about a patient as a whole makes students realize the importance of compassion, love, empathy and kindness in patient care.
This current problem addressed above can be overcome by optimizing the involvement of like-minded students in patient-centered learning. If they utilize concerted experiential learning in conversations at the center of a patient’s clinical problem, patient care and medical students’ learning outcomes could be improved.
As in many countries, shortages of doctors and reduced time for consultation have been implicated in poor patient care. This underutilized use of health care could potentially be better utilized in patient care, and they can play a key role in improving patient outcomes and reducing physician workload. And maybe it can reduce the burden of the physician shortage.
Vivek Podder is a physician in Bangladesh.
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