Integrating the Healer's Art Medical School Curriculum into PT Education
Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to describe the integration of the Healer's Art medical school curriculum into a PT education program. An overview of the Healer's Art's philosophy, purpose, and objectives will be provided, along with a description of the course structure, sample activities and outcomes. Suggestions for starting student and clinician discussion groups on finding meaning in practice will also be described. Methods and/or Description of Project: The Healer's Art is a 5-week elective course developed in 1990 by Rachel Naomi Remen MD, Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco. In response to increasing levels of burnout among medical students and physicians, the course was developed to restore a sense of purpose and joy in the practice of medicine. The course uses humanistic approaches to invite student reflection and discussion on individual characteristics that promote personal wholeness and relationship centered care. Discussion topics include grief and disappointment, personal healing qualities and speaking one's truth. Small group discussions involve faculty and student sharing on these topics. Since its inception, the Healer's Art has been taught in over 90 medical schools, recently expanding to include programs in other health related disciplines. The first Healer's Art for PT students was offered at Northern Arizona University in 2019. Results/Outcomes: Twelve entry-level PT students completed the Healer's Art course under the direction of two PT faculty who had been trained to offer the curriculum. Students completed written reflections after each session and submitted an anonymous electronic course evaluation using the standardized Healer's Art student assessment. Results of these evaluations offer strong support for the value of the Healer's Art in improving students' sense of personal calling, professional competence, and their ability to offer patient centered care. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The Healer's Art provides a unique opportunity for faculty to interact with students in a compassionate and authentic way that supports the sharing of intergenerational wisdom. Students and faculty participate as equals who form a learning community where all ideas are heard and respected, diversity is seen as a strength, and all contributions are respected regardless of expertise. The ability to interact in such a manner is critical to the development of professional behaviors that support optimal physical therapist practice.