By Chen Yingle (Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Oncology, The University of Hong Kong)
In many cases, medicine only focuses on scientific theories, and it is difficult to have both disease science and spiritual care. In the past, doctors were even taught to keep a certain distance from patients and their families.
However, doctors and nurses are not medical machines, they are human beings, how can they only see a doctor without seeing people without emotion?
(Hong Kong News) A life-and-death education enables medical students to understand the value of life, respect every life, be more willing to understand the needs of patients and their families, and bring warmth to those around them in their future jobs.
The hospital sees life and death every day. Life is impermanent. Some are so short that they passed away while still in the womb, without even seeing the light of the world;
Face death in the last class of life
Medical and nursing students will shoulder the sacred mission of caring for patients and fighting diseases in the workplace in the future, and will be exposed to life, old age, sickness and death. No matter how advanced medical technology is, whether it is gynecology, pediatrics or family medicine, there is always life and death.
Life and death education is not a compulsory course in medical school,
Many medical and nursing students are exposed to death for the first time,
It is the internship period after graduation.
They respond to the patient’s pre-death claims,
Appraisal of death, appease the complex emotions of family members,
And their own feelings of powerlessness, fear and stress,
Learn how to digest and process.
In order to allow students to face life and death issues earlier and understand the meaning of life, the Clinical Oncology Department of the University of Hong Kong and the Department of Intensive Care Medicine Clinical Associate Professor Weizheng Xian, Senior Lecturer (Anatomy) Yang Jian of the School of Biomedical Sciences, Chen Qiuminru, former chairman of the Life and Death Education Society, and Ling Ling Huang Min, the shepherd of the front yard of Shishi Hospital, held a workshop on “The Last Class of Life”. There are 5 themes in the workshop:
1.What is death? Is death the end of life?
2.How to prepare for death? Preparation for death and quality of life.
3.How to deal with grief and overcome pain.
4.Teacher General: The touching story behind it.
5.History and theory of life and death education.
After completing the workshop, 25 students went to Taiwan for investigation, visited Jinbaoshan Sunshine Garden and Teresa Teng Cemetery, and learned about the local burial culture. Everyone was amazed at the scale and grandeur of the cemetery; they went to Miaoli Rende Medical College to experience “death”, and the students divided into groups Acting, one person plays the role of the “dead person”, writing the will and reading the suicide note, while the other person plays the role of the family member, trying to understand the feelings of the deceased; and communicated with the teachers and students of Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan students narrated their illness experience for the first time, Hong Kong students Share the experience of facing the death of a family member; go to Wulai to understand the culture of the original residents, feel the beauty of life, and live in the present.
Understand the patient’s bitterness and strength better
During the trip, they also visited the Yu Garden of Taipei Nursing College. The garden idea is designed for people’s mental state when facing loss, and it is planned into three major areas: self-care area, spiritual counseling area, reconciliation garden area; tear pool and wish pool in the garden It is run through by a water channel about 20 meters long, which symbolizes that the process of grief is like a flow of water, which must go through processes such as washing, sedimentation, filtration, and flow to move towards reconciliation.
When I came to Leshan Labor Camp, the residents were all severely disabled or autistic, and could not receive care at home. But seeing the smiles of the residents and the paintings they designed, all of them were beautiful and colorful, I could see the caregivers’ care. With love and patience, you will understand that life may have many imperfections, but if you keep your heart gentle, you will feel the smile from your heart.
I believe that every participant will benefit from it. In the final sharing, each student speaks and expresses his feelings. Some said they understood themselves better and took a step out of sadness; some students said they understood the impermanence of life better, learned to cherish being with family and friends, and created more happy moments; Understand the bitterness and strength of the patient, and have more empathy.
Learn to cherish simple pleasures
────Student experience 1──── Wen Deng Fangyi (6th year medical student at the University of Hong Kong)
Talking about “death” is taboo in Chinese society, but it will always come uninvited one day.
As medical students, we will get a little bit involved in the beginning and end of life in the hospital, but our experience is still inexperienced, and we have not been able to assume the role and mentality of patients, nor can we understand what they value most when they are about to die.
As the saying goes, “reading thousands of books is not as good as traveling thousands of miles”. With this mentality, I decided to participate in this life and death education experience tour.
What impressed me deeply was the itinerary on the second day. I set off to Miaoli Rende Medical College in the morning. This death experience, before coming to Taiwan, I heard Pastor Huang gently mention that “there will be an experience of lying in a coffin.” He also said, “It’s not scary, some people are even comfortable enough to fall asleep in the coffin.”
reluctant to live
His understatement is indeed a reassurance. I was uneasy about this event, but I calmed down to welcome it. This death experience is very unique. Rende Medical College, as the first professional training school for funeral practitioners in Taiwan, specially designed the experience of dying in a coffin, so that students can deeply understand the state of mind of patients. I changed into my shroud, then went to a quiet room to write my suicide note, which I then read in front of the crowd.
Originally, I thought I was very open about death, but after reading the suicide note and lying in the coffin, when everything calmed down, I realized that I was reluctant to part with being alive. I also want to continue to have breakfast with my brother and mother every day, to meet and laugh with my friends in the classroom, to ride the roller coaster one more time, to drink one more cup of whole milk and whole sugar latte, to listen to one more pop song…don’t stop , If we don’t think deeply, we won’t know how to cherish some simple happiness. The happiness that is within reach every day becomes a nightmare that cannot come true at the moment of life’s end.
stop and cherish loved ones
After this death experience, I learned that work is not an excuse to neglect your family. We should slow down, live in the moment, life does not need to be rushed. Because it is only at the moment of parting that you know how to stop and cherish your loved ones, which is the greatest regret in life.
Love yourself to protect others
────Student experience 2────Text Chen Zitong (a first-year medical student at the University of Hong Kong)
I learned the value of death in the “Last Class of Life”, and deeply felt the power that this end gives to life.
One of the activities in the workshop is painting death. Although it seems simple, it actually allows everyone to go deep into their hearts and think about their personal perception of death. Every detail in the painting, such as color and line, is inadvertently affected by life experience, showing the naked experience of death.
Listen to Donor Stories
In addition, the workshop details the general teacher plan, and medical students can listen carefully to the reasons and stories of the donors and their families to make decisions, and reposition the value of life and death. During the epidemic, when the family members learned that they could not donate the body due to the limited facilities for handling the general teacher, they suddenly became overwhelmed, which shows the importance of the whole plan. Donating your body is a relief, making death the next beginning.
accept your vulnerability
During the exchange in Taiwan, I visited the tear pool in Beihuhe Garden. At that time, I felt like a spring, and I thought of my mother-in-law with terminal breast cancer in the tears. Doctors’ affection for patients has always been a controversial topic. However, in front of the magnificent fountain, crying no longer seems weak, but a powerful force. Doctors are human beings too. Accepting one’s fragility actually makes one’s body and mind stronger, because only by loving oneself can one be able to protect others.