McGill Center for Integrated Whole Person Care

A whole person care model should be integrated into standard medical training to ensure doctors take consideration of overall patient wellbeing


The purpose of this project was to shift medical education standards by further developing and expanding the reach of the Whole Person Care model utilized in McGill’s palliative care center. The project sought to extend the Whole Person Care model to the rest of McGill’s medical school in order to improve patient quality of life, especially in cases of terminal illness. The Whole Person Care model acknowledges that patient care should extend beyond the bio-medical treatment of pathologies and encompass the full psychosocial wellbeing of the individual. The goal was to integrate the healing process into the treatment of patients at every level of care by teaching students how to better respond to suffering experienced by the whole person. This project successfully resulted in the establishment of a Whole Person Care Research Program with collaborative links with the Faculty of Nursing, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Social Work, and Faculty of Religious Studies.

Grant Outputs

The Wounding Path to Becoming Healers: Medical students’ apprenticeship experiences –

This report analyzes the data collected by 19 self-selecting students who agreed to journal about their apprenticeship experiences in a teaching hospital. They were specifically responding to the prompt, “reflect on and write about what’s happening to you when you see patients.” The study found that while students often demonstrated caring attitudes, these did not necessarily translate into caring practices in dealing with patients. Frequently, students found that the hierarchy of the medical training system forced them to keep pace with instructors at the expense of attentive patient care. To overcome problems such as these, the report recommended a general retooling of the medical field, so that doctors learned to understand the importance of both curing and caring.

Grant Details

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