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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Medical school students to learn about literature, music | Citizens Voice

"As future doctors study at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, they will learn more than how to diagnose illnesses, prescribe medications and treat chronic health issues" notes Sarah Hofius Hall.
Photo: Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Geisinger Commonwealth)

Students may read fiction or poetry and have small-group discussions, visit museums and make observations or write reflections after clinical experiences.

As the region’s only medical college updates its curriculum, humanities will play a larger role. Across the country, a growing number of medical schools have increased students’ exposure to humanities, such as literature, art and music.

“Taking excellent care of patients takes a lot more than just knowing the science,” said Steven J. Scheinman, M.D., the college’s president and dean and chief academic officer of the Geisinger Health System. “If you’re not a well-rounded person, you’re not going to be able to serve your patients well.”

Medical colleges are recognizing that studying the arts and humanities “may help learners develop qualities such as professionalism, self-awareness and communication skills that are increasingly important for physicians,” according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Studying the humanities also strengthens observation skills and the ability to empathize with patients, Scheinman said. Some schools take students to museums, which can train eyes to observe patients. Other schools use music to train the ears of future physicians, he said.

As the college redesigns its curriculum, humanities won’t replace core academic classes, but instead will be integrated “organically” into medical classes. This summer, the college required students to read “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande, a book about the realities of aging and dying. When students started classes in August, they had small-group discussions about the book and talked about how the author’s perspective may change the way they look at future patients.

Source: Citizens Voice