Seminar Seven

Scottish Health Humanities Seminar and Masterclass Series - event no. 7

Dr Neil Vickers, King's College London

Wednesday 5 February 2014


What sorts of skills do good readers of literature have that might be of interest to clinicians?

3:00-4:30pm, Upper seminar room, no. 4 The Square, University of Glasgow [map]

This seminar will describe a sequence of linked studies that might help to answer this question. Although the speaker will present a number of suggestions, he is hoping to learn from the group about the best way of developing knowledge in this area.
Students and early career researchers welcome. Registration is required; please contact Luca Guariento at


Public seminar
What difference might the study of imaginative literature make to clinicians in their professional lives?

5:00-6:30pm (doors open at 5:00), room no. 412 - Lecture Theatre B, Boyd Orr building, University of Glasgow [map]

Across the globe, Medical or Health Humanities courses are becoming increasingly common in medical and nursing curricula. The humanities are being taught not only to medical and nursing students, they are also being used in the training of qualified clinical professionals. While there is agreement that the health humanities should strive to foster empathy, respect, self-awareness, and reflective practice among students, there is little hard evidence to show that humanities disciplines help cultivate any of these qualities. Ousager and Johannessen (2010) reviewed the literature on medical humanities curricula and their impact on doctoring skills. They found that most publications simply described concepts, courses, and programs, while there was 'a shortage of studies reporting the long-term impact of humanities in undergraduate medical education on the development of medical proficiency'. Even among prominent proponents of the Health Humanities, there are disagreements about the value of the specific methodological training that humanities disciplines offer, and to what degree the value of such training can be empirically studied. In this seminar I will describe the background to both sides of the argument and suggest ays in which it might be settled. (This seminar is open to everyone, no registration required.)