The healthcare systems of multiple European countries belong to the best of the world: their care is available to everyone and is of noteworthy quality. Although the care is of extraordinary quality, patients do not always perceive the care as empathic and full of compassion. The moulding of the healthcare professional of the future, and with that the moulding of the future healthcare sector in general, starts with education. However, universities and other medical educational institutes have not incorporated patients in their curricula on a large scale. The real patient does not yet have a spot in medical education, and if she does it is a very small one. Research tells us that the average empathy score of future doctors (i.e. medicine students) decreases as their years in medical training increase. We experienced this as medicine and health science students ourselves and decided to take action:
Charity Mens Achter de Patiënt (freely translated to: Human Behind the Patient) brings change: our dream is human centred medical education, with human centred care as a result.
Charity Mens Achter de Patiënt has developed an educational programme that can either be used as it is, or it can be used as a framework for other universities and medical educational institutes. This educational programme allows future healthcare professionals to get in touch with chronically ill patients and allows them to talk with them about the impact of illness, rather than the illness itself. The participating students most favourably have different backgrounds (e.g. medicine, health sciences and nursing) to broaden their horizons by transcending disciplines.
Research shows that the involvement of patients in medical education has advantages compared to education solely based on paper cases. By talking to patients and thus gaining understanding in the impact of disease, students become more motivated and interested. Patients, who might have lost their jobs due to their disease, gain societal participation again and are given a voice in the medical curriculum.
As we are a Dutch initiative that currently focuses on the Dutch health care sector primarily, only the homepage is translated into English. However, if you have any inquiries feel free to contact us at [email protected]. We are happy to answer questions or participate in dialogue.