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Pol Merkur Lekarski. 2010 Nov;29(173):331-5.

[Empathy-building of physicians. Part III. Students exposure to literature, theatre, film and the arts].

[Article in Polish]

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Pomorski Uniwersytet Medyczny w Szczecinie, Zakład Historii Medycyny i Etyki Lekarskiej.


Literature, theatrical performances, films and the arts could be used to enhance empathy among students of medicine and residents. The use of these media enables them to learn how feelings are expressed. Through study of literature and the performing arts students can also gain new insights into their own emotional responses to illness and suffering as well as into the moral and ethical issues posed by medical practice. The objective of this paper is to describe ways in which literature, film, drama, and the arts are used in medical schools to enhance empathy in students of medicine. We also want to show the rational purpose for the inclusion of these media in medical school training. We searched PubMed, ProQuest, ERIC, MedLine, and Polish Medical Bibliography (Polska Bibliografia Lekarska) published from 1990 to the present--for studies that address use of literature, drama, film and the arts for teaching empathy to medical students. Analysis of papers reporting use of different forms of literary, artistic, and performing arts productions within the context of medical education indicates that exposure to these types of media, when used properly, may trigger attitude change, foster understanding of the illness experience and enhance empathy for the patients.

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