Medical Education Marathon “Revolution in Medical Education: Humanity and Empathy Conquer the World”, presentation of the handbook “Humanity and Empathy in Health Care”


Unlike the paternalistic approach, the human-centered approach focuses on building trust and cooperation in health care. At all stages of medical care.

Professional healthcare workers, as well as responsible patients, are equal participants in cooperation. Respect and empathy in communication between them are needed to create partnerships in which the human interaction is a priority. Therefore, the Handbook on Humanity and Empathy in Health Care is designed to improve the overall quality of this communication.

Download the manual “Humanity and Empathy in Health Care” right now, at this link →, and if you want to have a paper version, you can request it here → 

Working on this guide is a painstaking work for many people, whose contribution is invaluable. Another key role of the handbook is to change the teaching of communication in medical HEIs, and to shift the focus from lecturing to the development of facilitation and dialogue between students and faculty.

That is why each topic presented in the manual needed a thorough approach: “We worked on it for over a year, in our “workshop of humanity” together with teachers and doctors of various higher educational institutions. For about seven months we worked out methods, selected topics. It took another six months to put it in a meaningful book. It has eight different themes, from a people-centric approach to tolerance and building relationships between doctors and patients. The most difficult was the chapter on patient subjectivity and healthy boundaries between doctor and patient. We realized that there is a big gap here, and we got help from lawyers to detail it from the legal point of view,” shares Anastasiia Leukhina.

Tetiana Havrysh also emphasizes the importance of the proactive role of patients in interaction with doctors: “What should be the driving force for patients to start fighting for their rights and forget the paternalistic approach? Shifting decision-making to doctors is part of a “culture” that does not help the system to change.”

The interaction of doctors and nurses with patients involves not only medical care, but also emotional communication, discussion of completely different life situations where you need to be able to communicate effectively. “When I was studying at the Medical University, we were taught some kind of survey algorithms: what questions to ask and in what order to collect a medical history, make a diagnosis and continue treatment. When you start working and communicating with patients in practice, you face completely different situations. When my first patient died, I experienced an incredible shock. I did not know how to communicate with relatives. I did not understand how to tell the patient’s daughter about death and how for me, the doctor, to live through this situation. It was a serious trauma, and then there was only one way out – to learn from the experience of colleagues. That is why there is such a strong desire to provide tools so that students learn to communicate with patients at the undergraduate level,” says Olena Ignashchuk.

In foreign medical universities, much attention is paid to communication courses, an important component of ensuring the success of treatment. Today, the experience of our medical higher educational institutions shows only the first steps in this direction, as Nana Voitenko says:

“At the Dobrobut Academy, we are engaged in postgraduate education. Therefore, we see what future doctors lack. Our doctors are not taught communication, which is very important in the work of medical professionals. Communication courses and guides are required at foreign universities. I am very glad that we now also have a modern handbook on humanity and empathy. Dobrobut doctors are already conducting similar courses on communication for interns in our higher educational institution. And with this handbook, we will be able to integrate the fundamental course into our learning process. In addition, I believe that such a course should be introduced at the level of undergraduate education.”

The role of teachers is important in building trust among future healthcare professionals and patients. Oleksandra Palahitska highlighted the need to integrate teaching cases into courses, because personal examples help students to understand the practical importance of the study:

“Humanity and empathy are about the trust and its acquisition. And we, teachers, have to understand how to build trusting relationships. You need to integrate personal examples, not just to teach the course well. Students need to experience a certain culture, which they will then be able to bring to their institution. The teacher should set an example and be part of the students’ educational culture, which will later help build a corporate culture in health care facilities.”

Kateryna Herush, a student at Bukovyna State Medical University, also mentions the value of personal examples: “Students need to know and understand why they are studying this or that material. Dry theory is now receding into the background. Every dialogue, every lecture is perceived well if there is a teacher’s own example that shows how we can change something and why. By the way, this may be the reason that medical students are less likely to choose theoretical humanities non-applied subjects, because they want to know how to use the acquired knowledge in practice.”

  • So “Humanity and Empathy in Health Care” is not a collection of lectures or a guide. This is a useful tool that is filled with various cases, videos and reflections. The manual has many algorithms and schemes, but the main focus is on communicating with patients in different situations. Therefore, the practical experience of the authors is described in detail in the manual, thanks to the description of their own communication with patients and cases from practice.

    Watch the seventh issue of the marathon here →

    Download the manual “Humanity and Empathy in Health Care” at this link →,  and if you want to have a paper version, you can here →