Perspective: Acts of Interpretation: A Philosophical Approach to Using Creative Arts in Medical Education
ABSTRACT Medical educators have used the visual arts for a variety of instrumental purposes, such as sharpening trainees' skills in observation, description, critical thinking, and communication. The arts have also served as means to more humanistic ends-that is, as a mode of self-care for house officers coping with grief and as a medium for reflecting on the meaning of illness and the nature of doctoring. More generally, art can serve as an expression of identity, as a form of social critique, and as a means to develop a sense of community of shared values. At the University of Michigan Medical School, the creation of original artwork (visual or otherwise) has been a major part of the Family Centered Experience, a longitudinal learning activity based on the stories that patient-volunteers tell of living with chronic illness. The purpose of this article is to explore how the creation of original art may serve as concrete evidence of the types of tacit learning and understanding that students gain through human interactions in medicine. The evidence of learning is not achieved via behaviorist notions of "demonstrating competence"; instead, student interpretive projects are visual or musical expressions of the affective, experiential, cognitive, and existential lessons students have learned through their long-term relationships with patient-volunteers. The overall aim of this article is to provide additional theoretical foundations, as well as practical information, that may guide the incorporation of the humanities and arts into the training of physicians.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Arno Kumagai, Jul 30, 2014
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ABSTRACT: Inclusion of the humanities in undergraduate medicine curricula remains controversial. Skeptics have placed the burden of proof of effectiveness upon the shoulders of advocates, but this may lead to pursuing measurement of the immeasurable, deflecting attention away from the more pressing task of defining what we mean by the humanities in medicine. While humanities input can offer a fundamental critical counterweight to a potentially reductive biomedical science education, a new wave of thinking suggests that the kinds of arts and humanities currently used in medical education are neither radical nor critical enough to have a deep effect on students' learning and may need to be reformulated. The humanities can certainly educate for tolerance of ambiguity as a basis to learning democratic habits for contemporary team-based clinical work. William Empson's 'seven types of ambiguity' model for analyzing poetry is transposed to medical education to: (a) formulate seven values proffered by the humanities for improving medical education; (b) offer seven ways of measuring impact of medical humanities provision, thereby reducing ambiguity; and (c) --as a counterweight to (b) - celebrate seven types of ambiguity in contemporary medical humanities that critically reconsider issues of proof of impact.Bioethics Quarterly 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10912-015-9337-5
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ABSTRACT: To educate physicians who are capable of delivering ethical, socially responsible, patient-centered care, there have been calls for identifying curricular space for reflection on the human and societal dimensions of medicine. These appeals, however, beg the question: What does it mean to devote space in an otherwise busy curriculum for these types of reflection? This Perspective is an attempt to understand the nature of this educational space in terms of its purpose, uses, dynamics, and limitations, and the underlying components that allow reflection and transformation to occur.Reflections on psychosocial themes often take the form of dialogues, which differ from the discussions commonly encountered in clinical settings because they require the engagement of the participants' whole selves-life experiences, backgrounds, personal values, beliefs, and perspectives-in the exchanges. Dialogues allow for the inclusion of affective and experiential dimensions in addition to intellectual/cognitive domains in learning, and for an emphasis on discovering new perspectives, insights, and questions instead of limiting participants solely to an instrumental search for solutions.Although these reflections may vary greatly in their form and settings, the reflective space requires three qualities: safety and confidentiality, an intentional designation of a time apart from the distractions of daily life for reflection and dialogue, and an awareness of the transitional nature-the liminality-of a critically important period of professional identity development. In this open space of reflection and dialogue, one's identity as a humanistic physician takes form.Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 11/2014; DOI:10.1097/ACM.0000000000000582 · 3.47 Impact Factor