Agents for change

april 2017.jpegOne of PRIME’s core aims is to enable and empower healthcare professionals to be change agents wherever they work, changing not just their own practice to be more compassionate, holistic and person-centred, modelled on the example of Jesus, but also the culture of the institutions in which they work. It is encouraging therefore to read a paper in the latest edition of Academic Medicine1 by two Academic GPs, making this point in the context of the need for medical education to change to meet the requirements of a changing world. They write, ‘The unprecedented demands of patient and population priorities created by globalisation and escalating health and social inequities will not be met unless medical education changes. Educators have failed to move fast enough to create an education framework that meets current population needs. A new common set of professional values around global social accountability is necessary. Education borders must be broken down at three levels—societal-institutional, interpersonal, and individual.

At a societal-institutional level, global health must be embraced as part of a philosophy of population needs, human rights, equity, and justice. A move from informative acquisition of knowledge and skills to formative learning where students socialise around values, develop leadership attributes, and become agents for change is needed.

At an interpersonal level, radical changes in curriculum delivery, which move away from the well-defined borders of specialty rotations, are required. Students must develop an integrated understanding of the future of health care and the patient’s journey through health care delivery, within the context of population needs.

At an individual level, (healthcare professionals [HCPs]) need to understand the boundaries of the professional values they hold within themselves and develop a deeper understanding of their own internal prejudices and conflicts. Opening the borders between the sciences and humanities is essential. Fostering and mentoring that emphasise that resilience, leadership, flexibility, and the ability to cope with uncertainty are needed to tackle the complexities of current, as well as future, health care.’ (emphasis mine)

This is encouraging because PRIME’s teaching has always sought to move away from the well-defined borders of specialty rotations and encourage HCPs to understand the boundaries of the professional values they hold within themselves and develop a deeper understanding of their own internal prejudices and conflicts. And it has done this by opening the borders between the sciences and humanities and providing teaching and mentoring that emphasise resilience, leadership, flexibility, and the ability to cope with uncertainty, as our recent international Annual Conference exemplified.

Are you an agent for change, at least at an individual level (where all of us can start)?  Some have been able to go further, to interpersonal and institutional levels (as we heard so encouragingly at Conference). Wherever you are, be the change you want to see, and do all you can to encourage and help your colleagues and institution to do the same. Only then will we address the population needs, human rights, equity and justice that all the people in the world deserve in terms of access to good healthcare.

Reference:

1. http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/Abstract/2017/04000/Doctors_Without_Borders.27.aspx

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