Our patients, our 'cases'



Communication skills, Empathy, Health humanities, Narrative medicine, Provider-patient relationship, Medical education, undergraduate


In busy teaching hospitals, patients are often regarded as ‘cases’ and the human dimensions are sometimes neglected. In this article, I describe a few of my experiences at the Government Medical College, Thrissur, during my undergraduate medical education days. Patients were examined repeatedly, and many were very uncomfortable with this. During those days there were no facilities for simulation and even procedures were ‘learnt’ on patients. The hospital environment did not provide enough space and privacy to patients and was confusing and bureaucratic. We were not explicitly taught communication skills and how to understand the patient perspective. This paper suggests that the health humanities can play an important role in understanding the patient perspective.


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Author Biography

Dr P Ravi Shankar, Faculty, IMU Centre for Education, International Medical University, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur

Dr P Ravi Shankar is a faculty member at the IMU Centre for Education, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Dr Shankar had started a Medical Humanities module in Pokhara, Nepal and initiated and sustained a module for over five years at KIST Medical College, Lalitpur, Nepal. He has facilitated Medical Humanities modules at Aruba and Saint Lucia. He is an editorial board member of Education in Medicine Journal and is a reviewer for a number of journals. He is a PSGFAIMER Fellow in Health Professions Education. He has a keen interest in the medical humanities and in creative writing, photography and trekking. 


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How to Cite

Shankar, P. R. (2021). Our patients, our ’cases’. Research and Humanities in Medical Education, 8, 38–41. Retrieved from https://www.rhime.in/ojs/index.php/rhime/article/view/458



Narrative Medicine