Bookmark and Share

JCHE Residents and Tufts Medical Students Learn from One Another

Posted: November 14, 2012

“Thank you for being wonderful teachers!” The Tufts Medical student who expressed her gratitude to residents at Golda Meir House on Thursday was speaking for all her fellow students.

For the past eight weeks, Tufts students have spent their Thursday afternoons out of the classroom and into the apartments at Golda Meir House, Coleman House and JCHE's Brighton campus. These visits are part of the first year students’ Medical Interviewing and the Doctor/Patient Relationship class. The one-on-one meetings with residents provide invaluable opportunities to hone their doctor/patient communication skills. Their conversations begin with medical histories and health issues but soon extend to include personal stories and life lessons. Heartfelt and meaningful relationships develop quickly over the months.

At the final session, all the students and residents come together to share accolades and cookies. Many of the students have limited interaction with people three times their age. Not only are they grateful for their first out-of-the classroom experience: the older adults they have met have been energizing. They have listened carefully as residents recount experiences – positive and negative – with the medical field. They talk together about what these future doctors can do to truly assist their patients.

The Golda residents were equally engaged. Ruth, a resident who does not have much contact with her grandchildren, said “It was a bonus to spend time with young people! It's the nicest thing that every happened.” Shirley was buoyed by the students' enthusiasm.  She recalled that each week the students were reluctant to leave and stayed well beyond the allotted time. She also appreciated the opportunity that Tufts gives their students to get to know older people in a non-hospital setting. By coming to their community, Shirley said that the young students understand that “older people do have lives, are educated and smart, and want to be here for a long time.”

The positive impact of this program extends well beyond JCHE’s residents. As Golda resident Marilyn pointed out: “These are the people who are going to be the doctor's of our children and grandchildren, so we have a vested interest.”

Each of the residents who participated in the Tufts program received a certificate acknowledging their role as volunteer educator. One student, Sarah, beautifully articulated the appreciation felt by many: “Thank you for inviting us into your homes and for being wonderful teachers for us. We will take all your advice and guidance throughout our careers as physicians.”

Go back

Add a comment