Compassionate Care Curriculum

AMS 2017 Phoenix Fellow Dr. Katherine Moreau talks Patient Voice in Health Professions Education

AMS would like to introduce you to our new 2017 Phoenix Fellow, Dr. Katherine Moreau. Dr. Moreau is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa where she focuses on Health Professions Education (HPE).

Why did you decide to become a health professions education researcher?

While working at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, I was introduced to the field of HPE. I was completing my PhD in Education when a colleague invited me to collaborate with her team on a medical education project, which focused on the participatory development and evaluation of global child health educational modules for pediatric residents. I was excited by this opportunity because it allowed me to integrate my education and healthcare interests. This project helped me make sense of my eclectic academic background. At the time, I had completed a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Sociology as well as a Bachelor of Education and a Graduate Diploma in Program Evaluation. I also had teaching experience at the elementary (i.e., Kindergarten to Grade 6) level and had worked in a variety of research positions. Through this project, I was able to find my career direction and quickly learn that I love working in HPE. Now, as a Professor in HPE and Program Evaluation at the University of Ottawa, I get to collaborate with future educators in the Bachelor of Education program as well as with those in the Master and PhD concentration in HPE. Through this role, I am able to foster connections between those working in schools and the healthcare system as well as introduce others to the exciting world of HPE.

What was the catalyst for your interest in compassion in healthcare?

While conducting research at CHEO, I learned a tremendous amount from the patients and families that I had the privilege of interacting with on a daily basis. Given my learning experiences, I was inspired to explore ways for actively involving patients and their families in the education of health professionals. I wanted to co-create HPE research with them. By actively involving them, I am able to identify research priorities that are important to them, gain new perspectives on topics, and advance the way we conceptualize compassion in HPE.

What inspired you to apply for a Fellowship?

A colleague mentioned the AMS Phoenix Fellowship to me while I was working on a systematic review to explore the impact of digital storytelling on patients and health professionals funded by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. After looking into the opportunity, I realized that my interests in family-centered care, participative leadership, and humanism in healthcare aligned well with the objectives of the Fellowship.

What value does being an AMS Fellow bring to you professionally?

This fellowship provides me with resources and networking opportunities to: (a) systematically, collaboratively, and creatively design, implement, and evaluate a curriculum that provides clinician-educators with information on and strategies for actively involving patients/families in HPE; (b) create a community that engages patients/families in HPE; and (c) advocate that patients/families remain the focal point of HPE.

What one little thing could we do to make our healthcare system more compassionate?

Listen to patients’ and their family members’ stories and spend time getting to know them beyond their illnesses or diseases. This will allow health professionals to provide care and services that best meet the needs of patients and their family members.

Have you ever been given advice by a patient that changed the way you think?

While conducting a study that explored the involvement of adolescents with chronic health conditions in medical education, I was interviewing a patient and asked her what she would like to teach residents. She excitedly stated the following: “Teach them how to write ‘positives’ on the white boards [in hospital rooms]….how to tell me they are proud of me and that I am awesome, how to make me feel better about myself…write a message about how well they [the patient] are doing and draw them a picture, it kinda just brightens their [the patient’s] day.” This statement stuck with me because it is something concrete and simple that we can easily do to increase compassion within healthcare.

About the author

Dr. Katherine Moreau

Dr. Katherine Moreau is an Assistant Professor of Health Professions Education (HPE) at the University of Ottawa. She is also an Affiliate Investigator at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and a Senior Researcher with the Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services.

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