This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Caroline Negrão dos Santos and Camila Zurlo Pianca, two third-year students of medicine from Brazil. They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.
The term competence, widely used currently, refers to someone’s capacity, aptitude, knowledge, skill or ability. In the area of health, the development of some specific competences has been bringing a new structure to the training of professionals, which aims to analyze the patient as a whole.
Such process, which takes into account the patient’s general observation, combining their physiological, behavioral, social, economical, affective and psychological aspects, has been implanted since ancient times, initially by Hippocrates. By introducing the care directed to the person and in a certain way the segment of humanization, the barrier between the professional and the patient is broken, when the latter was placed in a position of differentiation and inferiority during the care.
Diseases were commonly interpreted by the biomedical model, which considered complex phenomena constituted by simple principles, and distinguished in Cartesian manner, the mind and body. However, more humane health professionals, following the principles of the father of medicine, stand differently in communicative dimensions on their relation with the patient, for example, understanding the word patients use to express their pain or suffering; the difficulty to convey appropriate information to the patient and to submit treatment.
This way, professionals that develop and use competences besides technical and practical knowledge and ethics, such as empathy, cordiality, respect, understanding and include all aspects that compose their patients, add and make a big difference in the assistance and the care of populations, helping to take care of people’s health, regardless of possessing large amounts of resources for these situations or not.
Such professionals have the ability to adapt in various places in the world, on different occasions, for example, in public and private hospitals, well-structured health units, home care, or even humanitarian organizations, like “Medecins Sans Frontieres” (Doctors Without Borders), which brings humanitarian assistance to victims in conflict, natural disasters and epidemics. Acting in over 70 countries, they work on extreme emergencies, which is the case of countries where the health system is practically inexistent or inoperative, where it affects a great number of people and treatment is not accessible to everyone.
So, it’s plausible to affirm that the process of humanization, introduced by professionals, brings benefits in all sectors of health, from the environment that promotes and prevents it, to the person responsible for the patient’s recovery.
About the author
Caroline Negrão dos Santos is a third-year student of medicine from Brazil. She is
currently LCMD in IFMSA Brazil Unicesumar. She is member of the Academic
League of Sports Medicine, Exercise and Nutrology.
Camila Zurlo Pianca is a third-year student of medicine from Brazil. She is member of
the Academic League of Vulnerable Population.