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Original Research Paper

Humanistic care in medical education: an innovative approach through online discussions of literary texts

Author:

Sheba S. DMani

International Medical University, LK
About Sheba S.
Lecturer, Department of Language, Communication and Culture
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Abstract

Background: An online forum was designed for a literature and medicine selective in which undergraduate medical students discussed the poem The Send Off by Sian Hughes. The poem captures a mother’s anguish in aborting a child diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

 

Objective: To analyze the dynamics of the online discussion and its contribution to meaning making, through issues discussed and strategies employed in relation to humanistic care.

 

Method: A close textual analysis of the postings on the online forum was done. Data was coded for emerging themes using the grounded theory.

 

Results: Students discussed issues in the poem in relation to the medical framework, specifically on Down Syndrome. The discussion further explored intra and interpersonal emotional and social implications related to Down Syndrome. Learners used cognitive strategies that required critical analysis of the form and content of the poem. They further employed these strategies in the analysis of peers’ postings. In the interaction with peers, learners drew on experiences and emotions to justify their stand.

 

Conclusion: Online forums which use literary texts as stimuli provide the opportunity for medical students to broaden and deepen their understanding of human experience. The outcome reveals that learners engage in deeper approaches through sustained and interactive discussion with peers. Cognitive and social strategies within a literary framework foster intellectual and emotional understanding of the human condition. Transferable skills relevant to humanistic care that include observation, communication, reflection, critical thinking and professionalism can be nurtured through this approach to better equip the future doctor to provide holistic care.
How to Cite: DMani, S.S., 2011. Humanistic care in medical education: an innovative approach through online discussions of literary texts. South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education, 5(1), pp.26–31. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/seajme.v5i1.412
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Published on 30 Jun 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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