Horses help teach communication skills to medical students
- By: Krishna Chinthapalli
A group of medical students in Tucson in the US state of Arizona are the first to have completed a course in advanced horsemanship and non-verbal communication, which was introduced at their school last autumn.
The advanced option builds on the success of the original course, entitled “Medicine and horsemanship: an introduction to human non-verbal interaction at the bedside.” Both are optional electives to help students improve their bedside manners, and were set up by Professor Allan Hamilton, a renowned neurosurgeon at the University of Arizona.
In each course, up to six medical students go to the Rancho Bosque horse ranch every Friday afternoon, exchanging their white coats for blue jeans, boots, and a hat. At the ranch, students attempt to gain a horse's trust and then persuade it to perform simple tasks, such as trotting in a circle or leaping a hurdle. The students do this by controlling their