Education: our philosophy
'Nothing about me without me'
We believe that by supporting professionals and patients to develop a therapeutic relationship based on open communication and mutual respect, patient outcomes can be improved and daily lives of professionals enhanced.
Skills for working with patients
Professional development courses focus on important clinical skills but rarely the broader issues that matter to patients, such as:
• involvement in decisions and respect for preferences
• clear, comprehensible information and support for self-care
• attention to physical and environmental needs
• emotional support, empathy and respect
• involvement of and support for families and carers
• continuity of care and smooth transitions between different departments, organisations and professionals.
So our initial focus will be on supporting clinicians who are already in practice, in a range of healthcare disciplines. Our work will be underpinned by the three themes of our movement: science, service and healing.
Skills for working together
The therapeutic relationship between the individual clinician and the individual patient is the basis of all healthcare. Professionals and patients have to collaborate in:
• sharing sensitive and highly personal information.
• physical examinations.
• invasive or uncomfortable procedures or diagnostic tests.
• using medicines that may have unpleasant effects and always involve an element of risk.
The risks of bureaucratic systems
Relating to other human beings with compassion is fundamental. Yet as healthcare systems around the world become larger and more bureaucratic, both practitioners and patients suffer from a loss of human interaction.
The simple task of sending a letter to a patient and their GP after a consultation can take up to twelve weeks – or more, thanks to long-winded adminstrative systems. That can leave patients feeling worried, without the information they need, and in some cases can be dangerous.
Doctors, nurses and other health professionals can experience high levels of stress and burnout, while patients may feel they have not been listened to or do not understand their treatment.
A new approach
The pioneer of patient-centred medicine, Harvey Picker, said, 'no decisions about me without me'. Patients should be equals who bring their own experiences, perspective and skills into the consultation room. And that patient should be cared for by a multidisciplinary team, with all professionals valuing the contribution of each discipline in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
We believe that clinicians can learn from patients as much as patients can learn from clinicians. All our professional courses are designed in collaboration with our Patients' Council. We will also help patients to learn more about their health. Our Faculty of Self Care will be working on better helping people to care for themselves where they wish to, and where to find other sources of help.
In the future, we aim to help patients understand and navigate the complex and often confusing healthcare system, with its many different disciplines, organisations and access points.