Our Educational Values in the Art of Observation

The Five Question Protocol was designed as a toolkit to access both the analytical problem-solving process behind diagnosis and discern personal values, assumptions, and affective responses that may influence decision making. Everything about the protocol is designed to build clinical skills. From the experience and skills of a Medical Educator/Medical Humanities Educator and a Museum Educator/Hospital Chaplain, we unpacked the thinking process in developing the Five Question Protocol:

The Medical Educator:

  • Seeing and listening are essential clinical skills used to take a good medical history and do a good physical exam;
  • Collecting clinical information from the history and physical is critical to diagnosis and treatment;
  • Every patient encounter is an opportunity for new observation: repeat as needed.
  • The toolkit can be used over and over—with each patient—same five questions/same exercise—to create a habit of mind.

The Museum Educator:

  • Seeing and listening are essential skills in building a group’s experience with an artwork;
  • Systematic approach reinforces that observation is “not as simple as it looks;”
  • Systematic approach is designed to build habit of mind though discipline of extended & repetitive looking;
  • Non-judgmental listening and paraphrasing builds trust, creates a receptive learning community;

The Chaplain:

  • Seeing & listening are essential skills in taking a “spiritual history,” that is, a history of what gives meaning to life of an individual patient;
  • Non-judgmental listening and paraphrasing focuses attention on patient’s concerns, and builds trust between patient and chaplain.