Immersive geriatrics research leads to recognition for UNE medical students

William Brown and Sonia Marcello

February 06, 2018

Sonia Marcello and William Brown go through the orientation process at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House
Sonia Marcello and William Brown go through the orientation process at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House

Two students from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine have been recognized for their geriatrics research. They participated in the Learning by Living 48 Hour Hospice Home Immersion Project, in which second-year medical students spend two full days living and providing care at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House for terminally ill patients.

The SciFed Journal of Geriatrics and Palliative Care published an article authored by students William Brown and Sonia Marcello and Professor and Director of Geriatrics and Research in the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine Marilyn Gugliucci, Ph.D. The article, titled, “Patient-Centered Care: Medical Students Engagement Through Immersion Learning,” demonstrates how this experiential learning project helps medical students learn vital communication skills that allow practitioners to understand the needs of their patients, skills they might otherwise not learn through their medical training.

The research has garnered further attention among student leaders in osteopathic medicine. The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents published Brown’s firsthand account of his experience in its newsletter, “The Pulse.” He described the tasks he and Marcello performed, "such as assisting with toileting, bathing, feeding and sitting with patients and family members for hours to hear about their life and their end of life decisions.” These tasks were unlike anything they are likely to do when they become physicians, but are important to participate in to advance understanding and learning.

He wrote, “This immersion experience has completely changed the way I plan to practice medicine when I graduate. I will try to take a step back from all of the science and try to remember the lessons of compassion that I learned during my time in the hospice home.”

Read the article in SciFed Journal of Geriatrics and Palliative Care.

Read the story in “The Pulse.”

To learn more about the University of New England’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, visit www.une.edu/com

To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions

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