university course birgit philips ghent university college

Birgit Philips teaches person-centered care using Ida tools

By Clint McLean

Teaching students about person-centered care (PCC) is an investment in the future of hearing care. Audiologists’ roles continue to change, and they need the ability to adapt. Conducting hearing tests and fitting hearing aids just isn’t enough anymore. Hearing care professionals must have advanced counseling skills, stellar communication, and know how to truly partner with their clients for successful outcomes. That’s why teaching PCC is so crucial.

Teaching person-centered care

Birgit Philips is just one of many educators preparing their students for pending careers with some help from Ida’s person-centered tools and resources. 

Since 2007 Philips has been a guest professor at Ghent University College where she teaches CI-related courses in the audiology program. She’s also a senior research audiologist working with the H2020 EU-funded MOSAICS project to integrate person-centered care into CI treatment.

Philips advises her students to make their starting point for everything related to the clinical encounter person-centered so they can get a holistic understanding of the needs and concerns of their future clients.

Ida University Course

To support her in teaching person-centered methods, Philips uses the Ida University Course. It provides lesson plans, materials, and videos to help educators integrate PCC into school curricula. “I love that the chapters are bite-sized so I can easily use them in lessons, she says. One module asks the students to recollect a visit to a healthcare professional. “This is how I open the conversation about person-centered care,” Philips says, “because the good visits are always person-centered.”

Ethnographic films

To bring PCC to life for her students, Philips uses Ida’s ethnographic videos about hearing loss. Ida began making the videos in 2008 to provide insights into the thoughts and actions of people with hearing loss, their communication partners, and hearing care professionals.

“When students are watching the videos,” Philips says, “they aren’t distracted by their phones. They are listening, asking questions, and discussing. The videos really resonate with them because, while students are used to seeing medical encounters, they don’t normally see the stories behind them. The stories make it real and they connect.”

As a proud proponent of person-centered care, Philips tries to instill the significance of PCC in her students. She’s not just helping people be better hearing care professionals; she’s helping them to be better people. “It isn’t just your profession,” she tells them, “It’s who you are.”