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Revista médica de Chile

Print version ISSN 0034-9887


ORTIZ P, Armando et al. Accompanying a patient as an experience to learn the meaning of disease. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2008, vol.136, n.3, pp.304-309. ISSN 0034-9887.

Background: Due to technical advances and progressive specialization, patient physician relationship evolved from being based on confidence and comprehension to be impersonal and contractual. Aim: To evaluate the change produced in medical students' concept of the meaning of disease, after living an experience of accompanying a patient and their family environment. Material and methods: We used a qualitative research methodology based on participative-action to evaluate an educational method in which a group of third year medical students accompanied a previously selected chronic patient during two months. We performed two focal groups, one previous to the experience and the second one a month later. Additionally, every student wrote a personal narration of the experience. We compared the students' perception of the meaning of disease for the patients and their relatives, before and after the experience. Results: The students confirmed their previous conception about chronic disease, but they also discovered the ways in which some patients and their families overcome their ¡imitations. They pointed out their belief that the physician's comprehension of the meaning of disease for the patient and the family, a need to practice a good medicine and that this knowledge change the physician-patient relationship. Conclusions: This experience was an effective way of ¡earning the meaning of disease, which might be a part of medical student' training, with the corresponding adjustments and changes

Keywords : Disease; Empathy; Students, medical.

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