There are concerns medical students and physicians are becoming so exposed to the science of medicine that they are forgetting the emotional needs of their patients.
The fears were voiced by the new President of the World Medical Association (WMA), Dr Miguel Jorge, in his inaugural speech at the WMA’s annual assembly in Georgia last week.
Dr Jorge, who is also the Director of the Brazilian Medical Association and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Federal University of São Paulo, said that while most people entering medical school did so because they said they wanted to help people, research shows that by the time some finish their training, “they were usually less sensitive to the patient’s needs than when they started.”
He suggested students are becoming increasingly exposed to the biological nature of illnesses rather than to the social environment surrounding their patients and the development of diseases, and that they are not adequately taught to take into consideration the emotional aspects of those they are assisting.
The president said doctors should learn how to use the new tools provided by the progress of medical science and developments, such as social media, to improve the physician-patient relationship and to not allow themselves to move away from communicating with their patients.