Remembering Our Patients

Campus

“Patient loss was a unique affective experience that had a smoke-like quality. Like smoke, this grief was intangible and invisible. Nonetheless, it was pervasive, sticking to the physicians' clothes when they went home after work and slipping under the doors between patient rooms. To improve the quality of end-of-life care for patients and their families, we also need to improve the quality of life of their physicians, by making space for them to grieve like everyone else.”

-Leeat Granek, health professions psychologist based at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

As we wrap up our last clinical rotations, it is important take a collective pause and reflect on the patients we have lost during our medical school training. Physician grief is frequently an under-addressed issue and potential contributor to burn out.

Unfortunately, there are currently no formal forums for medical students to process their experience with death.

In order to address this, a memorial display is now set up in the medical student lounge (S-245) and all students are invited to participate.

This will be a memorial table/wall where students can come and perform a ritual of remembrance, whether that means just taking a moment to remember a patient, write down a particular thought and post it on the wall, or whatever else you want to do. Suggestions and instructions are posted on the table.

This display will be accessible to students 24/7 during the remainder of the Coda and Intersession block, May 2 to 13.

In the future, organizers hope to expand this idea into a larger and more interactive event, and they would love to hear your feedback on this, either through the display or through email.

Any questions, suggestions or comments can be directed to organizers Monica Parks at monica.parks@ucsf.edu, Danielle Atibalentja at danielle.atibalentja@ucsf.edu or Lauren Hennein at lauren.hennein@ucsf.edu.