Brazilian Family Medicine Team Develops Videos: Humanism and Medical Education in Times of COVID-19
By Pablo González Blasco, MD, PhD; Maria Auxiliadora C. de Benedetto, MD, PhD; Marcelo R. Levites, MD, PhD; Graziela Moreto, MD, PhD; Marco Aurelio Janaudis MD, PhD
What problem was addressed?
The current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a difficult and unprecedented predicament. With each passing day, the physical and mental care of the health team itself is essential. Put more simply, it is crucial to raise the morale of those who deal daily with this threat of unprecedented proportions. A discouraged, pessimistic doctor, with no perspective is also an element of the crisis and that attitude causes insecurity in patients
What was tried?
SOBRAMFA — Medical Education and Humanism, a private organization of family practice physicians in Brazil, has disseminated recommendations through short videos to help professionals maintain an objective view of the reality they are experiencing. Excessive and disproportionate concern for the significant public health problems the world is now facing, does not help, and can even hinder, professionals from taking care of their own responsibilities of the specific area they are in charge of at this moment.
Thus, knowing how to tabulate the daily evolution of their patients — the hospitalized, the deceased, and very importantly, the discharge of the recovered — provides a sense of perspective to doctors. Daily updates of global pandemic mortality statistics are not really relevant to the daily work of frontline health care professionals. Such information can even distract professionals from their primary responsibilities. To rework the old saying, it is possible that too much focus on the forest can prevent you from seeing the trees that need help.
The use of clips from well-known movies, an educational resource used in medical education, helps to clarify the recommendations made in these videos, and to maintain emotional balance. Thus, the scene from Braveheart where the leader, William Wallace, asks his army to wait for the right moment in time to fight the oncoming enemy cavalry, or the scene from Bridge of Spies where the healthy unconcern of the Soviet spy is contrasted with the disproportionate concern of the lawyer’s son, illustrate the benefits of maintaining a sense timing and keeping perspective. Or the union that characterizes true teamwork, as in Gladiator:
“I don’t know what will come out of these gates, but if we are united we will survive.”
“I am Spartacus!”
Spartacus is not so much a name as an idea: one that takes care of the team and promotes solidarity in times of crisis.
What lessons were learned?
Providing a realistic view of the facts that each team is experiencing in this crisis, accentuating the positive and highlighting achievements via instructional, morale-boosting videos, could be a way for medical educators to provide valuable assistance from the background. It is sometimes necessary — as the New England Journal of Medicine recently warned — to think globally but act locally.
Pablo González Blasco, MD, PhD, Scientific director of SOBRAMFA- Medical Education and Humanism
Maria Auxiliadora C. de Benedetto, MD, PhD, Publications Director of SOBRAMFA
Marcelo R. Levites, MD, PhD, Commercial Director of SOBRAMFA
Graziela Moreto, MD, PhD, Educational Programmes Director of SOBRAMFA
Marco Aurelio Janaudis MD, PhD, General Secretary of SOBRAMFA