Educating the Heart and Mind


Read the full February eNews and President’s Message.

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Aristotle

Though medicine is based on facts and evidence, family medicine is all that and it draws on the heart, emotions, and social constructs of community, team, and family. We learn the technical aspects of medicine from reading, being tested, and attending lectures in medical school. Nonetheless, we really start to solidify what we are taught in medical school when we are given the opportunity to practice what we have learned with our teams, with our patients and their family members in practice.

Residencies, preceptorships, and mentorships throughout our professional careers are so critical. Practising alongside our teachers while we interact with and support patients helps us to develop competency and confidence because that is when the heart becomes engaged! The heart comes to be educated when emotion, caring, compassion and, sometimes, even frustration are present. That is when the learning moves from the mind to the heart.

Think about when you have learned something that changed your heart. Was it something you read, something you learned through trial and error, or something that you worked on together with a mentor or preceptor? Perhaps you heard a clinical story that captured your heart and has resonated throughout many years of practice.

We have access to so many opportunities to learn and engage in continuing professional development and through more formats and environments than ever before. Our goal at the ACFP is to connect different members—with different learning styles—to education that speaks most to them. It is not enough to learn from a book or a classroom setting, we must bring new ideas to life and apply them practically to the work you do, day to day. The designers of your continuing medical education and professional development must facilitate the journey from the mind to the heart.

As we are on the eve of the ACFP’s flagship conference, the Annual Scientific Assembly (ASA), we hope that what you experience there will move your mind and your heart. Let it be a place to meet and connect with old friends and new, to network and learn from people in your field of interest, to get updated on the newest clinical practices and to remember what brought you into family medicine.

Think about what “educating your heart” means to you and those you serve.



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