Advertisement

Carmen’s Story

  • John H. KearsleyEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Carmen’s story is an intimate narrative about a single clinical encounter from three simultaneous perspectives—those of a specialist oncologist, two attending medical students, and a newly referred patient (Carmen) with early-stage breast cancer. By using a combination of communication skills, intuition and mindfulness, the specialist doctor addresses Carmen’s distressed emotional state to assist in resolving her crisis. At the same time, the doctor engages with one of the attending medical students to demonstrate aspects of whole person care. Both the students, and Carmen, then use their own narratives to reflect upon the personal impact of the various encounters which they have witnessed and experienced.

Keywords

Empathic communication Medical students Mindfulness 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I am indebted to Ms. Carmen Simon for her resilience in allowing herself to be the subject of this story. I also acknowledge the bravery of Ms. Katherine Nguyen and Mr. Callum Barnes for making themselves vulnerable enough to contribute to Carmen’s story.

I thank Ms. Sue O’Reilly for helpful editorial comments, and Judy Cush for her secretarial expertise.

References

  1. 1.
    Hojat M, Vergare M, Maxwell K, et al. The devil is in the third year: a longitudinal study of erosion of empathy in medical school. Acad Med. 2009;84(9):1182–91.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Coulehan J. Today’s professionalism: engaging the mind but not the heart. Acad Med. 2005;80(10):892–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kearsley J, Lobb EA. “It Is not a disease we treat, but a person”: reflections of medical students from their first rotation to an oncology and palliative care unit. Pall Care. 2013;29(4):231–5.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The Holy Bible, Psalm 31. New Testament Version. International Bible Society: East Brunswick; 1978.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hamilton J. Dr. Balfour Mount and the cruel irony of our care for the dying. Can Med Assoc J. 1995;153(3):334–6.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Buckman RA. Breaking bad news: the S-P-I-K-E-S strategy. Comm Oncol. 2005;(2):138–42.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Buber M. I and thou. New York: Simon & Schuster; 1996.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rohr R. The naked now. New York: Crossroad Publishing Company; 2009.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kearsley JH. An exquisite presence ( after Buber). Pall Supp Care. 2012;10:307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cassell EJ. The nature of suffering and the goals of medicine. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kearsley JH. Rembrandt, Michelangelo, and stories of healing. J Pain Symptom Manag. 2011;42(5):783–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiation Oncology, St. George HospitalUniversity of New South WalesKogarahAustralia

Personalised recommendations