Harvard Macy Community Blog

Fostering the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming health care delivery and education.

Role Modeling to Demonstrate and Strengthen Empathy Development

The decline of empathy in health professions education has been shown to deteriorate in learners as they progress through their education program. As educators, how do we encourage our learners to maintain their empathy over time? Can we use novel teaching methods to reinforce and strengthen learners’ empathetic skills?

A powerful, and often overlooked, teaching method is role modeling. Role modeling is the process by which educators teach learners by modeling appropriate knowledge and behaviors. Educators who routinely utilize role modeling have been found to demonstrate “the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that comprise a professional identity.”

Utilizing role modeling to demonstrate empathy can have a direct impact on learning and the learning environment. Mikkonen et al. promoted the utilization of empathy and found that empathetic educators promoted caring, learner-centered environments that motivated students to accomplish their learning goals. The establishment of an empathetic learning environment can reinforce the knowledge, skills, and attributes necessary for learners to become successful health care professionals. Additionally, the utilization of empathy as a component in the learning curriculum can reinforce the development of empathetic behaviors in learners.

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Implementing a Social Media Strategy for an Institutional Account

Social media plays a huge role in how we communicate today. Almost every organization, institution and individual person utilizes social media, and it is important to understand how we can use it to be impactful as  healthcare and educational institution. While many hospitals and universities employ communications directors that direct their social media strategy, this is less common for educational units, such as offices of faculty development. The faculty development unit Emory at Grady, an academic medical center,  created a student work-study social media and communications manager position. In this role, I was responsible for creating and executing a strategy to relay information, spotlight the faculty and staff, and highlight important work , which those on the outside often do not get to see. As I took on this role I saw an opportunity to optimize the current social media strategy to make the social media account more impactful, and to educate others who may consider hiring a student for this important role.

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Erica O Miller

Thank you!

Thanks for sharing these practical steps and great work!
Tuesday, 02 August 2022 5:05 PM
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The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast S3 E6: The Learning Hospital with Jim Gordon

The Harvard Macy Institute Podcast aims to connect our Harvard Macy Institute community and to develop our interest in health professions education topics and literature. Our podcast is hosted by our Program for Educators in the Health Professions course faculty Victoria Brazil, and will feature interviews with health professions education authors and their research papers.

How do we train and transform our teams and our systems for better patient care in the 21st century? What is the role of simulation, of interprofessional learning, and of integrating education with workforce development in large healthcare institutions?

Jim Gordon and his team at Massachusetts General Hospital are meeting that challenge head on in a major new initiative, including a simulation based Learning Hospital.

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#MedEdPearls July 2022: A Time for Transition - An Opportunity to Transform

July is a time for transitions. Students are transitioning to clinical training in clerkships and into autonomous practice in internship. Graduating residents and fellows are transitioning into independent practice as attending physicians. For those in the autumn of their careers, there are perhaps transitions to non-clinical roles, or better yet, retirement.

Several theories of transition have been described in the literature. Atherley et al. described three conceptual perspectives to illustrate a learner’s transitions through the medical education continuum. These are: educational, social, and developmental. Unsurprisingly, each of these conceptual perspectives has associated with it feelings of struggle, difficulty, anxiety, and stress. These tensions can arise when there is no shared mental model of expected performance between trainees, supervising faculty, and governing bodies.

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Returning To The Bedside

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated communities across the globe, leaving socioeconomic and health disparities in its wake. Despite these hardships, we, as health professions educators, remained true to our mission of caring for sick, promoting science, and advocating for voiceless. Even though I cared for patients in a non-surge area, it was still a crazy time. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, things changed. Incident command centers quickly arose to deal with COVID-19. In what seemed like overnight, we shifted to virtual learning environments to maintain the educational mission to our learners. In one of the few times in modern history, attendings and learners were on the same level in terms of COVID-19. During this uncertain time, as a hospitalist, I also transition from bedside rounding with the entire team, to bedside rounding with only the intern or resident primarily responsible for the patient.

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