A psychiatry student from Inuvik hopes she can positively influence medical practices in the North with her dissertation research.
“Even my small examination of clinical documentation in the Beaufort Delta has the potential to influence practise throughout the North,” said Mallory Minerson, who is pursuing a PhD at the University of Alberta.
Minerson was recently awarded the Įnı̀ Gomǫò Whehdıı̀ studentship from the NWT-based Hotıì ts’eeda research support unit.
Her research studies the terminology used when doctors write medical charts, and how that choice of words affects patients’ care.
“Every time we meet a new patient in the ER, or in acute care or in the office, we will often read what the physician or clinician prior to us has written, to get an idea about the patient’s history,” Minerson said.
“The language that we use can really influence our bias.”
As an example, Minerson explained that “non-compliance,” a phrase commonly used in medicine, doesn’t acknowledge complex issues that could affect a person when they don’t appear to follow a treatment plan.
She feels the phrase could be judgmental, as there may be many reasons why a patient would find it difficult to follow recommendations.
“Most people don’t just ignore the advice of their doctors, nurses, counsellors … It may not work for them, or doesn’t feel in alignment with their culture or values, or they don’t fully understand what they’re being asked,” she added.
Minerson said if a patient is “non-compliant,” it may be an indication for practitioners to ask more questions about what the patient needs, and understand how their situation can be taken care of.