Professionalism as a component of medical education is something we all know is important but can be hard to effectively impart and even harder to measure. Students who want to improve their professional skills report that it can be difficult to find effective ways to do so.
One of the most obvious ways that the professionalism of a doctor or medical professional is seen by his or her patients, is through the communication skills that are used on a daily basis. Effective communication is a two-way street and becomes ever more challenging each day as our societies become more multicultural. Empathy spans culture, gender, race, age, and socioeconomic factors that can become barriers to effective communication. The need to be understood is a universal human trait and with the right tools, the medical professional can use that energy to charge the healing process in a positive way instead of just letting that energy create stress, confusion and possibly frustration.
Over the years, many CFHI students have commented that the time spent immersed in another culture, has increased their awareness of others and also their awareness of self. Being in a foreign culture and a foreign healthcare system makes a person aware, sometimes awkwardly aware of themselves and of their assumptions about how healthcare should be delivered. Many of the things that we might take for granted on a daily basis are suddenly removed. The experience is one that is new, different, challenging, perhaps uncomfortable and, at the same time, an amazing opportunity for learning. Here too empathy can play a role. The practice of self empathy can help transform the experience to be one of learning and not just stress.
CFHI is thrilled to present, in collaboration with the Center for Nonviolent Communication CNVC, a two-part training focusing on empathy. This will be a live phone-in training. We encourage CFHI alumni and students preparing to go in CFHI programs to register for this free training.
Melanie Sears has been a Registered Nurse for more than 25 years and a certified trainer in effective communication since 1991. Her book, Choose Your Words: Harnessing the Power of Compassionate Communication to Heal and Connect, is an excellent workbook designed to help health professionals be more effective in their communication with both patients and colleagues. Joining her as co-trainer will be John Kinyon, also a certified trainer in communication skills since 2000. John has worked in a number of international settings and has worked with many groups to address the challenges of cross cultural communication.
CFHI is honored and grateful to have Mel and John offer their expertise to CFHI participants.