Chen and Shepherd write about the healing skill of being a team player.
Donna Chen, M.D., M.P.H., and Lois Shepherd, J.D., along with former bioethics interns Eleanor Muse and Alika Johnston, have a new article out in the September-October issue of the Hastings Center Report. In“What Medical Students Teach: The Healing Skill of Being a Team Player,” the authors share the results of their mixed-methods analysis of two hundred essays written by recent medical students.
The authors found that when asked to share their observations of how various clinicians’ actions contributed to a positive or negative experience in the “informal curriculum,” medical students identified relationship-enhancing behaviors that correspond in substantial measure with Larry Churchill and David Schenck’s eight “healing skills (e.g., “Do the little things” and “Take time”), aligning themselves with the ancient understanding of “ethics as a healing art.” They also found that students see good teamwork as ethically important and critical to fostering healing relationships with patients and families—both directly, as when clinicians and patients work together as a team, and even indirectly, such as when clinicians work together as a team outside the presence of patients and families. Building on the students’ observations, the authors propose ways in which “Be a team player” ought to be considered a 9th healing skill and is a moral imperative in today’s modern health care systems because of its essential contribution to healing.