McGovern Medical School Residents’ Program
Residents functioning in an academic medical center are increasingly impacted by both biotechnology and the need to see and treat large numbers of patients. This diminution of the role of physician as “caring healer” can have negative impacts on physician empathy and on patient care.
As an initiative to “nurture the healers” and reinforce professionalism, the Sacred Vocation Program for medical residents was initiated at the McGovern Center in 2007.
Residents meet in groups of eight to ten over five one-hour sessions and consider:
- How they came to medicine and the role, value and meaning of work in their lives
- What it means to be a healer, as they share healing experiences they have had with patients
- When harm comes to patients, and times when they have had to confront, forgive and learn from their mistakes
- Coping strategies and tips for dealing with difficult patients, families, colleagues, as well as avenues for self-care
- Generating a group statement about the key principles by which they choose to practice medicine
Residents talk about their SVP experience
- “SVP helped us to explore the personal side of medicine. It gave us the chance to reflect on our successes and failures and reminded us to take time to remember the ‘person’ inside the patient.”
- “SVP helped us to acknowledge and discuss some of the incredibly difficult situations we face as physicians.”
- “I really enjoyed sharing more aspects of the practice of medicine and exchanging opinions and views with my colleagues. It was a great experience to write our statement and I will strive to stand by it.”
- “Residents can feel so alone, it was really good to share. SVP gave us the opportunity to stop and think – and it also helped me to improve my relationships with my patients.”