The Nature of Illness Experience: A Course on Boundaries
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2002; 23(3): 259-269
With the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's designation of "professionalism" as one of six core competencies in residency medical education, some educators of residents and medical students believe that the concept of professional role is too restrictive and narrow for grappling with the complex dynamics of professional-patient relationships. The ethical quandaries of abortion and physician assisted suicide illustrate how individual personal values cannot be ignored in the dynamic relationship between health care professional and patient. This article describes a medical school course where students are paired with "patient mentors." Within the dynamic and intimate relationship that unfolds over several months, students explore the "experience of boundaries," and are invited to use this experience to consider their evolving professional identity.