“Doctor’s Image” is an elective course from the Department of Social Sciences of ONMedU

The Department of Social Sciences of ONMedU introduces an elective course “Doctor’s Image”, aimed at teaching empathy and tact in the doctor’s relationship with the patient

Bioethics is a branch of interdisciplinary research in human medicine and biology. Within the walls of  Odessa National Medical University under the leadership of the rector Valery Mykolaiovych Zaporozhan a new direction was created, and later recognized worldwide – nooethics. This is the ethics of intellectual activity of a patient and a doctor in particular. How does a doctor build a relationship with a patient? How to evoke affection, respect and trust? What is the impression of a doctor based on?

In 2021, the Department of Social Sciences of ONMedU under the leadership of Associate Professor Olga Sikorska began research work on “The image of the doctor: linguistic and historical and cultural aspects.” Such an interesting and practically significant topic seems important to get acquainted with. We asked the head of the Department of Social Sciences, Associate Professor Olga Oleksandrivna Sikorska and Associate Professor Olena Oleksandrivna Uvarova about the plans for developing of the topic.

– Dear Olga Oleksandrivna, your department specializes in Ukrainian studies. Why did you pay attention to such a topic as imageology?

Associate Professor Sikorska: Our department teaches Ukrainian studies, among the teachers – candidates of philological, historical and political sciences. In addition, for many years we have been paying attention to the educational process, which is aimed at the formation of civic and spiritual self-identification. During a meeting with the responsible for educational work at the department, associate professor Uvarova O.O. we had the idea to develop new issues. Therefore, the cathedral research “Image of a doctor” is aimed at using interdisciplinary approaches, closer to the needs of life and new opportunities, as well as become one of the means of educating young doctors.

– To what extent has the topic of the doctor’s image already been developed in science?

Associate Professor Sikorska: Imageology, PR are not new words. A lot of literature, textbooks, articles cover certain aspects. But there is not enough structured scientific information about the image of a doctor.

– What is the relevance of the new scientific and research work?

Associate Professor Sikorska: The medical profession involves social communication. Today, professional knowledge and experience do not guarantee a high level of success in the chosen field of activity. It is necessary to be able to attract people to themselves, that is, to take care of their image. The extent to which a specialist is able to use his professional image determines his success.

– You pay attention to the linguistic and historical-cultural aspects of the doctor’s image. Will your research be of practical importance?

Associate Professor Sikorska: Of course! Especially given the need to develop communication skills. The department has been teaching the course “Oratorical Skills of a Scientist” to graduate students for several years, and we have experience.

The impression of a doctor as a person is formed within a few minutes of communication. The effect of their own charm and the doctor’s influence on others is an important tool of medical professional activity. The patient can trust the specialist in communication with whom he feels comfortable, predictable, because he is confident in his professional authority. This contributes to the success of treatment and prevention work. And already in a trusting atmosphere the doctor and the patient will continue directly the treatment process.

– What are the goals and objectives of the team at the beginning of 5 years of work on the SRW?

Associate Professor Sikorska: This year we dedicate to the accumulation of information about the science of imageology. We are working on a set of materials, because there is an idea to offer an elective course “Doctor’s Image”.

– Olga Oleksandrivna, you mentioned the elective course “Doctor’s Image”. Who can he be interested in?

Associate Professor Sikorska: Everyone who works in the medical field. Both students and teachers. A version of the work program has already been developed, which includes the following issues: image components, psychological principles of a doctor’s image, personal image management technologies, building an effective image, communicative competence, features of creating a business image in medical practice and more.

– What achievements are there today?

Associate Professor Sikorska: To date, teachers of the department co-authored 4 abstracts. I coordinate the team during methodical meetings, developed a plan, set the scope of searches. Associate professors – Ph.D., Uvarova O.O., Candidate of Political Science – takes an active part in the work on the topic. Kulachynsky M.M., Ph.D. Podkupko T.L., senior lecturer, Ph.D. Shanina O.S.,  work on the preparation of scientific and methodological materials.

– Do students get involved in scientific research?

Associate Professor Sikorska: Under the guidance of Associate Professor Uvarova O.O. our students presented their theses at the scientific conference “Modern theoretical and practical aspects of clinical medicine”, organized by ONMedU. Last year, a 2nd year student of the 9th group of the Medical Faculty № 2 Tarasenko S. presented theses on the topic “Established image of a doctor: the need or obstacle to individuality?” This year the 2nd year student of the 1st group of the medical faculty № 1 Sokolova K. made a report on the topic “Patient perception of the doctor’s office” and won 1st place in the section.

– Dear Olena Oleksandrivna, are there any innovations made at the department?

Associate Professor Uvarova: For example, the topic of the student report at the scientific conference was “Patient perception of the doctor’s office.” We paid attention to the environment, while the available information about the doctor’s image is mainly related to appearance and behavior. Student Sokolova K. conducted a poll, we analyzed it, the results were published. And we also try to present different opinions, such as the established image of a doctor: the need or obstacle to individuality. And it is these issues that we are already bringing to the attention of both students and the community.

– Don’t you think that imageology is an artificial creation of a human image that does not correspond to reality?

Associate Professor Uvarova: It may seem so if you work only with external attributes. It is important to realize that the image is not only the appearance of a person, not only a white robe and stethoscope, but a whole set of characteristics.

Working on the image is not just another diploma in a frame on the wall, but it is a job to get it, it is a constant process of self-development, gaining new knowledge and skills, enriching your personality with professional tools for success and productivity.

Imageology does not teach inventing one’s image, but directs it towards self-development, helps to show the best acquired qualities. In addition, part of the image is engaged in the usual educational process of personality – etiquette, literacy, written and oral communication, style of appearance and more. Therefore, for our department, the new SRW is a part of the familiar educational work.

– What competencies will the study of the elective course “Doctor’s Image” contribute to?

Associate Professor Uvarova: To be able to carry out professional activities that require updating and integration of knowledge, to use information and communication technologies in professional activities, to establish interpersonal relationships to effectively perform tasks and responsibilities, etc. And in general – to work on the self-concept, the formation of which takes place throughout life and contains an idea of ​​himself, of what impression he makes on others. The course is aimed at cultivating empathy, delicacy, tact, ethics and morality.

– Olga Oleksandrivna, we will note that departmental scientific work is very interesting, and how do you see its development?

Associate Professor Sikorska: We are currently preparing methodological materials for the implementation of the elective course “Image of a Doctor”. We continue the bibliographic search. In the future it is planned to develop trainings for students and staff of the university, to implement the results in the educational work of the department, to diversify activities. We really want to implement our ideas into the educational process, to offer students and teachers new knowledge and advice.

So, we wish the head of the Department of Social Sciences, Associate Professor Sikorska O.O. further success in work, teachers of the department – inspiration and implementation of tasks.