Introduction: To increase students understanding of what it means to be a physician and engage in the everyday practice of medicine, a humanities program was implemented into the preclinical curriculum of the medical school curriculum. The purpose of our study was to determine how medical students views of being a doctor evolved after participating in a required humanities course.Methods: Medical students completing a 16-clock hour humanities course from 10 courses were asked to respond to an open-ended reflection question regarding changes, if any, of their views of being a doctor. The constant comparative method was used for coding; triangulation and a variety of techniques were used to provide evidence of validity of the analysis.Results: A majority of first- and second-year medical students (rr = 70%) replied, resulting in 100 pages of text. A meta-theme of Contextualizing the Purpose of Medicine and three subthemes: the importance of Treating Patients Rather than a Disease, Understanding Observation Skills are Important, and Recognizing that Doctors are Fallible emerged from the data.Conclusions: Results suggest that requiring humanities as part of the required preclinical curriculum can have a positive influence on medical students and act as a bridge to contextualize the purpose of medicine.
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