Navigation Links
Loyola bioethics study finds medical students concerned about desensitization to dying patients
Date:12/31/2013

MAYWOOD, Ill. The imminent death of a patient is riddled with emotions for a patient and family as well as the medical team. A study based on the reflections of third-year Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine students is shedding light on the struggle physicians in training often face when trying to control their own emotions while not becoming desensitized to the needs of the dying patient and his or her family.

"Medical students are very aware they are undergoing a socialization process by which they become desensitized to the difficult things they see every day in the hospital. They realize this is necessary to control their emotions and focus on caring for the patients. On the other hand, they are very concerned about becoming insensitive to the spiritual, emotional and personal needs of the patient," said Mark Kuczewski, PhD, leader author and director of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics.

The study published in the January issue of Academic Medicine, a peer-reviewed medical journal, focused on a randomized group of Loyola third-year medical students who were asked to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience as part of a team caring for a dying patient. The students were asked to think about patient care, communication, compassionate presence and personal/professional development.

The assignment was given two months into their clinical rotation and was to be completed five months later allowing the student to complete five of their required clerkships.

The essays were coded using a multistep process and content-analysis approach. A bioethicist, physician and medical school chaplain independently read and coded the essays looking for emerging themes. The team then met together to compare themes and resolve discrepancies. Four themes emerged from the 68 student responses: communication, compassionate presence, patient care and personal and professional development.

The study found that conveying the prognosis of death to patients was understandably difficultbut not just the manner in which it was conveyed, but also who conveyed it.

"Students observed how their teams delivered and explained the prognosis. Conversely they also wrote how teams avoided it," the study reported.

"Students reported no matter how well a physician communicated a prognosis, families and individual family members absorbed and digested the information in their own manner and at their own pace."

The study also pointed out the importance of the medical team having a compassionate presence beyond routine medical interactions, such sharing interests, conveying affection or continuing to show interest in the patient after treatment had ended.

The study affirmed the importance of the medical care team understanding that a patient is body and soul, acknowledging there needs to be emotional and spiritual support for dying patients and their families.

"The students reported that some medical teams are very focused on the immediate medical problems. There is a fragmentation of medical care, such as teams rotating on and off service and patient transfers also that allows medical practitioners to avoid addressing the larger picture, death," Kuczewski said. This same fragmentation may cause practitioner to overlook patients' and families' needs for information and emotional and spiritual support.

The study determined that there is a need for emotional and spiritual support for the medical students and the health care team who are facing the loss of a patient as well.

"Though some students wrote that their team acknowledged in some way the death, others felt there was no closure. The team would move on to the next patient, leaving the student with unresolved feelings," said Kuczewski.

Finally, the study found that students struggled to avoid becoming desensitized to the human reality that their patients were experiencing while also learning to control their emotions.

"Students were aware they must temper their emotions to be patient-centered. Still, many were upset that increasingly they were ceasing to react emotionally to situations as they typically would have prior to their clinical experiences," said Kuczweski.

The study concluded that student reflections offer insights into the ways the spiritual needs of dying patients and their families are addressed in the hospital environment. Additionally, it is a glimpse into the personal and professional development of a person as they transition from layperson to physician and the need for medical schools to develop ways to support students during this transformation.


'/>"/>

Contact: Evie Polsley
epolsley@lumc.edu
708-417-5100
Loyola University Health System
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Loyola neurologist is co-editor of 3-volume, 1,480-page guide to clinical neurology
2. Osteoporosis drugs compared for side effects, efficacy in Loyola study
3. Risk of osteoporosis drugs side effects not significant, Loyola researchers find
4. Loyola study assesses use of fingerstick blood sample with i-STAT point-of-care device
5. Loyola University New Orleans Hosts Newly Appointed U.S. Commerce Secretary
6. Loyola School of Nursing Online DNP Program Receives Federal Grant for Health Training
7. Loyola nuclear medicine technologist named National Technologist of the Year
8. Loyola receives $1.5 million grant to study vitamin D for diabetes and depression
9. Workers do not quit due to mandatory flu shot, says Loyola study
10. Loyola Students’ Anti-Bullying Campaign Wins University’s Eighth National Bateman Competition Title
11. NBC Nightly News Veteran Tom Brokaw to Speak at Loyola University New Orleans’ Spring 2013 Commencement
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood shifts ... upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a knife ... and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda Cheng, an ... Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including robotic Suresmile ... orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. It can ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are ... Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute ... presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Puradigm® & Innovative Solutions today announced ... and processing operations at its production facility, and opened its first two dispensaries ... manufacturer of a complete system of proactive air and surface purification solutions for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Pro-Am Heroes Golf Classic Tournament held on June 20th at the Woodmont Country ... local charity, Luke’s Wings, an organization dedicated to helping service members that have been ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic Chemical), Functionality ... - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their ... global pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to reach USD ... in the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Capricor Therapeutics, ... a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development ... patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne clinical ... 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects the ... quarter of 2016, and to report top line ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Ill. and INDIANAPOLIS , ... students receiving a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is ... 2016 scholarship winners, announced today online at www.diabetesscholars.org ... let type 1 diabetes stand in the way of ... has supported the Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: