Involvement in the 3 Wishes Project educates trainees about the pillars of both verbal and non-verbal communication. Making clear eye contact, listening, and not rushing interactions are pre-requisites to connecting with vulnerable persons. Conscious non-verbal communication is rarely taught or practiced, yet can be as powerful as verbal communication.
Many trainees are unaware of the cultural landscape that reflects a hospital’s catchment area. Involvement in the 3 Wishes Project offers an opportunity to learn more about the community served by each participating hospital. Valuable insights can be obtained by discussing how language influences perceptions across cultures, and ways in which cultural norms influence what is most compelling at the end of life.
Studies to examine residents’ experiences about withholding and withdrawal of life support highlight insecurity about such discussions, diverse understanding of terms such as futility, and exposure to regressive views that dying patients ‘are not good teaching cases’. There is little guidance for trainees to assist them in constructing an authentic picture of an incapacitated patient’s preferences. Involvement in the 3 Wishes Project exposes trainees to how to take a facilitated values history. Trainees favour experiential, case-based, patient-centered exposures for hands-on learning about the practical and ethical aspects of end of life care, rather than classroom teaching and reading. The 3 Wishes Project offers such opportunities.