Does Pre-clerkship Medical Humanities Curriculum Support Professional Identity Formation? Early Insights from a Qualitative Study

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There is a lack of consensus about the outcomes of medical humanities training. In this qualitative study, the authors analyzed pre-clerkship small group discussions to assess the nature of learning in medical humanities. Twenty-two medical students (12 females and 10 males) in three humanities small groups consented to participate. The authors used inductive thematic analysis to qualitatively analyze the text from 13 weeks of curriculum. Findings indicate that students reflect about negotiating the clinician-patient relationship within the stressful environment characteristic of today’s healthcare systems, that they worry about sacrificing their personal values in pursuit of honoring professional expectations, and that they encounter and commonly confront ambiguity. These themes were used to develop a descriptive framework of humanities small groups as a structure and safe space for the early development of professional identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-521
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education

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