Luncheon highlights bond between medical students and patients

At the second annual Legacy Teachers Luncheon, UNC School of Medicine students got the chance to say thank you to the patients who made a lasting impact on their training.

For many medical students, the lessons that stick with them are learned from patients. They learn to empathize. To build a connection. To truly listen. They find a way in. It could be a shared hometown, a love of food and culture, or a bond over Tar Heel basketball, but finding a way to build trust with patients is an essential skill. With this connection, medical students begin to appreciate the impact they can make on patients, and the impact patients make on them.

The lessons learned from patients – the unsung teachers – were honored at the second annual Legacy Teachers Luncheon. Over lunch, seven medical students stood to tell the stories of the patients that they will never forget. Many of the patients and their families were in attendance, and following the students’ remarks rose to tell their own stories of how working with these medical students helped them to get through their hospitalization.

This is the second year of the Legacy Teachers Luncheon. It is adapted from a program first developed at the University of Missouri. At UNC, it’s led by Kurt Gilliland, MD, and Beat Steiner, MD.

“I am certain that all of us who are physicians in this room have learned some of our most powerful lessons from patients. Yet many of us never had the opportunity to formally thank our patients for this gift. The Legacy Teacher program which started in Missouri and is now spreading to schools across the country is an opportunity for students to do just that…to formally thank patients who have played an important role teaching them the art of medicine,” Steiner said.

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