Should medical students be required to study the arts? Yes
The way medicine is taught and the contents of curriculums are always under scrutiny. Giskin Day and Matthew Rinaldi say students are missing a valuable lesson by not studying the arts, but Jane Macnaughton (doi:10.1136/sbmj.f5056) says including the arts in medical education has failed to meet its objectives
- By: Giskin Day, Matthew Rinaldi
“Young men ought to come well prepared for the study of Medicine, by having their minds enriched with all the aids they can receive from the languages, the liberal arts.”1 This, with the proviso that it applies to women too, is as relevant today as it was when it was written in the 18th century. Yet the skills associated with the arts are generally regarded as knowledge that can be “caught” rather than “taught,” to the detriment of the medical profession. The time has come to take the arts seriously in medical education.
Creativity has been shown to be an important predictor of success in medical students.2 Yet most medical curriculums make little or no time or space in which students can be creative. As medical knowledge has increased, the curriculum has become focused on students needing to internalise vast amounts of data. Although book learning is obviously important,