Teaching the Art of Medicine: A Changing Portrait in Today's Medical Schools
Lambert, Aaron; Gress, Todd; Veitia, Marie
Objective: The purpose of the present study was to assess attitudes toward the value of the “art of medicine” in medical education, beliefs regarding whether it can be taught and, if so, the methods of teaching that would be most effective. Method: As described by the British Medical Journal (2006), the “art of medicine” is defined in the present study as “the way in which knowledge is related to advice and treatment.1” Data was gathered via 278 anonymous surveys distributed to all Marshall-affiliated physicians, fellows, residents, and entering first-year medical students using a 5-point Likert Scale. Surveys were then analyzed by demographics including age, gender, medical school attended, and field of specialty. Results: Out of 278 surveys, 218 were returned resulting in a 78% response rate. Ninety percent of respondents believe that the art of medicine is as important to medical practice as the basic sciences and ninety-two percent believe it to be a critical component of medical education. Eighty-one percent believe that the art of medicine can be taught, and seventy-six percent would support finding more time in the curriculum for teaching the art of medicine. Out of options given, most respondents seemed to favor role-modeling by preceptors (68%), reviewing experiences of physicians (59%), and small-group discussions (56%) as the most effective methods of teaching the art of medicine. Discussion: The faculty, residents, and first-year students of Marshall University School of Medicine clearly support teaching the art of medicine and believe it can, in fact, be taught and is not just something inherent to certain individuals. Several methods of teaching were identified as important by those surveyed, and action must be taken to ensure the art of medicine is not lost in the shuffle or removed from the undergraduate medical curriculum.