User Driven Learning: Blending the Best of Clinical Medicine and Humanities to Infuse ‘Joy’ into the Medical Curriculum

User Driven Learning: Blending the Best of Clinical Medicine and Humanities to Infuse ‘Joy’ into the Medical Curriculum

Shivika Chandra (Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India), Amy Price (Oxford University, Oxford, UK & Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA), Tamoghna Biswas (Independent Researcher, Kolkata, West Bengal, India), Kaustav Bera (Medical College Kolkata, Kolkata, West Bengal, India) and Rakesh Biswas (Department of Medicine, People’s College of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/ijudh.2013070109


Medical students need to be equipped with knowledge and the attitude to tackle clinical complexity. The transition from classroom to clinical practice can be eased by the application of innovative student-centered learning methods. Through user-driven learning, which is asynchronous conversational learning in the web space between computer users, students can be encouraged to develop a comprehensive fund of experiential knowledge to enable them to quickly build physician-patient rapport and to apply decision-making skills in the face of uncertainty. This process offers medical students the opportunity to develop empathy and to participate in evidence sharing peer support groups. This article explores the concept of user-driven learning and discusses how this approach could be used in current health care settings to address knowledge gaps and inspire students and teachers alike.
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Roadblocks Faced During Medical Training

Indian medical schools use periodic objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) that assess the clinical competence of students (Sloan, Donnelly & Schwartz, 1995). Interpersonal skills form an integral component of such evaluations, and are often categorized as an independent parameter (Warf, Donnelly & Schwartz, 1995). Narratives from Indian medical students (authors SC and TB) touch upon the key roadblocks a medical student faces in identifying and developing these skills in India as well as their potential reward.

Narrative 1.­
Teaching modules and textbooks are not sufficient to teach a medical student how to be a good physician. We learn by observing our peers and seniors, but our most important teachers are our patients.
My conversation with my first patient was more of a viva-voce examination, punctuated with abrupt pauses – my voice was trembling and I was trying hard to remember all the “questions” as per the training manual. Suddenly, I looked up to find my attending standing there. A legend in the hospital, his presence made me feel even more embarrassed at my apparent ineptitude. Instead of ridiculing me however, he gently taught me an important lesson – “Talk to the patient as you would to your own family member or friend. Extend them the same courtesy, and also the same level of comfort. You’ll learn ‘what’ to ask as you grow as a physician, so do not worry about that aspect. Right now, focus on ‘how’ you will interact with him”.
Emboldened and enlightened, I went back to my patient and proceeded to ‘talk to him’ rather than merely ‘taking a case’. Not only did I finish taking a complete history in a shorter time than anticipated, I also gleaned some important information, which he had not shared with the resident. This helped me consider a new differential. Over the years, I have had many such physician and patient encounters teach me the value of compassion, empathy, trust and the value of empowerment and inclusion for the patient in the decision-making process. These values enhance my personal and professional growth.

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