Shared decision making & interprofessional education

At the University of Chicago, during the first year, medical students are required to take a course titled “The Doctor-Patient Relationship” which delves into topics such as informed consent and shared decision making. Day 2 highlighted the importance of shared decision making, and how it should be a two-way street; today reminded me of the doctor-patient relationship and how it can dictate patient outcome. I particularly liked the “Please See Me” YouTube video that Dave played at the end of the session. The clip showed a patient and doctor standing onstage, delivering a beautiful slam poetry-style speech, sometimes in unison, sometimes in conversation. I think doctors and patients forget sometimes to see each other as human beings; too often doctors reduce patients to mere symptoms and lab results, while patients view doctors as infallible creatures that can fix all of their problems. It was humbling to listen to the raw emotion coming out of that performance, even within those few minutes. I could see the struggle that both the doctor and patient had in trying to establish a working relationship in which shared decision making could be achieved by working together  as a team.

What stands out to me now (which I had not realized while I taking the class) is the lack of interprofessional education (IPE) at my school (note the course title only mentions two participants — the doctor and the patient). This may be attributed to our lack of healthcare professional schools (besides medicine), but we all know how multidisciplinary medicine is as a field. I couldn’t help but make a mental note to myself to explore the possibility of working with other schools in the Chicagoland area to establish some sort of IPE curriculum at UChicago. Otherwise, how would we, as future physicians, know how to work with, interact with, and refer to other health professionals if we are not introduced to IPE early on in our medical education? I find myself already struggling with the medical lingo, and now throw in the myriad roles and individual players that we encounter on the wards, and you’ve got one confused student! During the morning session today, Natalie shared a story about how a med student taught her to record instructions for feeding on the patient’s own phone so that if (and when) they forget, they are able to reference the video quickly. This illustrated to me the importance of interprofessional learning; doctors and nurses need to work with each other and other auxiliary staff members to maximize care for patients.