Want to get involved in real life Untold Stories of the ER? Take Hospital Stories! Taught by Dr. Ann Green, this course is a semester long service-learning class offered here at Saint Joseph’s University.
After she had a neurosurgeon be a little to blunt with her as her husband was suffering from some serious medical issues, “… it was just interesting because that was just information I just didn’t need to know, it was not helpful,” she became interested in how doctors communicate information to patients. Dr. Green was compelled to do something with her experience in the hospital. She began to read up on all things brain injury and the next year Saint Joe’s let her teach the course.
There are multiple different service cites for students to go to: Inglis House, Ken Crest transitional home, Saunder’s House, Esperanza clinic, plus more. Students mostly just spend time with patients of all different ages; whether it be reading to them or just hanging out with them. The class focuses on being present for patients and letting them come to you rather than putting yourself on the person; as most doctors do.
There are controversial debates over whether it is better to be more objective when diagnosing someone or to hear their story. Dr. Green said she found one study that shows that when medical students start working with patients in their second year of medical school, they become less empathetic. In contrast, there is a different study that proves incorporating art into medical school curriculum make doctors more empathetic.
Dr. Green is passionate about the communication between doctors and their patients, “Hospital Stories is a way to embrace my love for service-learning and my interest in teaching doctors how to communicate better.”