Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Doctors Who See More than the Body

In a Peace Weekly article, the level of satisfaction among doctors was listed as low. "There is a need for  doctors not only to work in healing diseases, but the whole person. In  the formation of doctors, concern and consciousness of  their vocation  is necessary." These are the words of a priest  who is responsible  for the humanities course in the Catholic Medical School.

In the article, he is quoted also as saying: "When a doctor, in a medical situation is not happy, he is not mindful of his calling as a doctor. He will not be a good doctor." The priest was one of the 28 selected as a Korean in the competitive society we are in, who has  contributed to service in community, formation of talented persons and working to change our environment. 

The article mentions the English medical on-line Journal: International Journal of Medical Education. Below is a paragraph taken from the journal which  has included the  dissertation from the Catholic University of Korea in its  recent volume. Easily accessed on the Internet.

"The medical college of the Catholic University of Korea, established the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2006. In 2007, it began to develop a medical humanity's curriculum, referred to as the OMNIBUS curriculum, which was implemented in 2009 and modified to the present time, through a continuous process of review. OMNIBUS, the name of the humanities curriculum, was taken from the Latin expression “to all men” in First Corinthians of the Bible, and was chosen to refer to a holistic understanding of the human. We focused on traditional humanity's content, such as art, music, and literature and what it  means to a suffering human, and approached the curriculum development based on the inherent dignity of the human and the moral values of Catholic teaching." 

The article mentions that the priest with more than 40 of the faculty in different fields, for over a period of three years, have contributed to the Omnibus curriculum.  The program takes 300  hours to complete. Composed of discussion, debate, presentations, meetings with the sick, and examining  what sickness and health looks like from a  human viewpoint.

The priest says that a medical doctor should  help heal even  the soul. It is necessary to be sensitive to the mental and  spiritual dimensions of the person. When we lack the expression of ethics in the healing process, there is a danger of becoming a machine in healing. A specialist who is too taken up with function may be deficient in human qualities. Both the medical knowledge of a doctor and the human spiritual qualities  should be present. This was expressed in the dissertation with the following words. 

"The current focus on medical professionalism in the curriculum often begins with how best to instill or encourage the following six elements of professionalism: altruism, accountability, excellence, duty, honor and integrity, and respect for others. The humanities offer great potential for enhancing professional and humanistic development in medical education."

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