Empathic Education in Design: Strategies for Healthcare Practitioners?
The education of professionals, such as healthcare practitioners, involves an enculturation process that immerses individuals into the rites, rituals and values of the particular profession. Professionalisation, particularly in fields that have a long history, reinforces values that are inherent to the core skills and practices essential to the profession. Due to the complexity of enculturation, when a shortfall is discovered within the education of professionals, it can be challenging to shift the value system. This paper is a response to a growing body of research on how to develop stronger, more meaningful education on physician-patient relationships with a particular focus on developing the attribute of empathy.
The aim of this paper is to present five strategies for empathic education in design that may be used by healthcare educators towards developing stronger physician-patient relationships. The presentation of these strategies is a response to numerous studies on medical education that illustrate a decline in student empathy during the training process. In addition, studies in medical education have illustrated that teaching empathy is best done through the arts.
This paper presents five empathic education strategies in the form of case studies. The research strategies are qualitative by nature in order for one to understand the emotional, physical and intellectual needs and experiences of others.
The results illustrate benefits, challenges and unexpected outcomes that may occur while teachers and students engage in empathic education. Key results include stories about how empathic education strategies can push people outside their comfort zones. This can develop into a respect for others that could not be learned through exposure to theory alone.
Using empathic education strategies in learning environments provides rich input towards expanding the interpersonal skills and empathic horizons of individuals. Five strategies used in the design field are presented here in order to provoke and support healthcare professionals in the pursuit of creating a more humanistic-centered approach in the enculturation process.