A closer connection, a harmonious relation, and a kindred spirit between a patient and their doctor form the basis of all treatments.
The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine has notes of Dr. David Jeffrey, Department of Palliative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, who carefully scrutinized the approach of the playwright along with assessing his empathetic prowess.
He further commented that the ability to connect on a level that curbs misunderstanding and improves the scope of transparency wherein a patient opens up to their doctor.
The doctor, too, has the prospect of fully connecting to their patient. This altogether enhances the patient-doctor relationship.
Are Doctors Generally Distanced?
The medical field has been arduously teaching students that emotions are disruptive and they need to be controlled. Their entire education and practice focus on making doctors that are competent and yet, not empathetic enough.
This results in doctors distancing themselves from patients. The coronavirus pandemic has further expanded this gap.
For medical students to augment their skills at socializing and connecting better with patients, Shakespearean plays are the ultimate go-to.
With references to The Tempest, As You Like It, and King Lear, Dr. Jeffrey wrote, “It is remarkable that Shakespeare’s work remains relevant today. It seems that he could anticipate our thoughts, particularly in times of crisis.”
He especially lauded the way Shakespeare’s plays connect the reader’s point of view to that of the speaker. No boundaries or shackles seem to be present, and the relatability makes his plays even more worthwhile.
The level of understanding, the acceptance and validity of emotions, and the acknowledgment of varying moral perspectives that Shakespearean plays offer are phenomenal.
The approach of his plays helps the reader to interpret the content according to his will and reflect. The reader unearths empathy along the way.
Also, not to forget that reflection is a crucial part of clinical practice and medical education. Therefore, having an open space for interpretation and reflection makes the Shakespearean play so quintessential for medical students.
Shakespeare always speaks through times of utmost turmoil and crisis, which births empathy in human relationships.
Medical education has, time and again, been on the borderline of humanities. What’s needed is that these humanities be made central to the medical culture and bring about a much-needed change.
As for introducing Shakespeare to medical students, Dr. Jeffery said, “A special study module would be one way of introducing Shakespeare studies to the undergraduate curriculum.”
If only medical students become a little more empathetic and build relations with their patients for safer, better, and more transparent treatment, the industry as well as the humanities would go a long way.
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