The Chronicle of Higher Education
August 26th, 2015
It’s 4 p.m. at a university medical
center. A team of doctors, nurses, social workers, and administrators
gathers to discuss best practices for patient care. A voice cuts in: "I
felt as if everyone was rushing in the radiology department. That’s when
I felt really uncomfortable." The voice belongs to a patient. Her
comment shifts the conversation — abstract until now — to a new focus:
this particular patient’s experience. Patients’ voices — once
marginalized in medicine’s hierarchical structures — now help shape
medicine in meaningful ways.
Like patients offered the chance to participate in their own care,
graduate students should have a voice in the future of higher education.
The point here is not that doctoral students are like patients — most
good pedagogies begin by dismantling such an idea — but that
participants with little power within an organization can be a vital
resource of information and insight.