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Med Educ. 1997 Jul;31(4):276-80.

Humanizing medicine: a special study module.

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Department of Philosophy, University of Glasgow, UK.


As medical schools begin to implement their new curricula under the guidance of Tomorrow's Doctors, the authors wish to raise some discussion on the form and content of the special study module (SSM) component. In order to do this they put forward in this paper proposals for an SSM in Medicine and Literature. This course has been designed jointly and will be run concurrently in three Scottish medical schools: Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. Arguments for the course's acceptability to faculties of medicine and to students are discussed and its inclusion in the curriculum in terms of its educational impact, skills training, effect on personal development and broadening of the student's perspective are justified. The course structure, content and assessment procedures are described and a reading list proposed. The General Medical Council points out that SSMs should be seen as opportunities for innovation and this course demands a different educational approach from the standard objectives-led approach of most medical education. A process-led model is more appropriate as it stresses the way that students develop while taking the course rather than the end point reached at its finish.

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