Harnessing the medical humanities for experiential learning

Satendra Singh, Purnima Barua, Upreet Dhaliwal, Navjeevan Singh

Abstract

A month-long workshop on medical humanities was held in the Jorhat Medical College, Assam in September 2015. It employed experiential learning (both online and onsite) using humanities tools, such as the theatre of the oppressed, art, literature, reflective narratives, movies, the history of medicine, graphic medicine, poetry and diversity studies. As a result of the interactions, 28 volunteer participants, comprising students and faculty members, wrote reflective narratives on doctor​–patient relationships, produced a newsletter and a logo for their medical humanities group, and staged cultural performances and forum theatre. The narratives, participants’ reflections and feedback received were subjected to qualitative analysis; the workshop was evaluated using Kirkpatrick’s model. The participants learned to examine their attitudes and behaviour, communicate with their bodies, and experience respect for diversity. There was an improvement in their understanding of empathy, ethics and professionalism. The workshop achieved level-3 (behaviour) on Kirkpatrick’s model, suggesting that such workshops can initiate a change in the ABCDE attributes (attitude, behaviour, communication, diversity, ethics and empathy) of medical professionals.

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