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AfflictedHow Vulnerability Can Heal Medical Education and Practice$
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Nicole M. Piemonte

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037396

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037396.001.0001

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The Journey Back to Oneself: Reimagining Medical Education

The Journey Back to Oneself: Reimagining Medical Education

(p.127) 5 The Journey Back to Oneself: Reimagining Medical Education

Nicole M. Piemonte

The MIT Press

Chapter five includes a discussion of specific curricular interventions that can work toward getting students to think critically and to reflect deeply and broadly on what it means to be human. It highlights pedagogical approaches that allow students to see that the “real” scientific facts of biological disease cannot be separated from the existential reality of illness and that human beings always already dwell within their lived experiences, even before science and medicine inscribe their particular, abstract truths onto the body. Through exposure to patients’ stories—whether through narratives or face-to-face encounters—reflective writing, dialogue, and quality mentorship, students might come to appreciate the lived experience of illness, to expand their moral imaginations, and to develop a more capacious sense of care that is grounded within a recognition of our shared humanness and potential for suffering. This kind of pedagogy does not result in a “professionalism” that can be measured, quantified, and assessed, but rather a way of being in the world—a posture of openness toward others, an ability to face uncertainty, and the capacity to extend care to all patients even when “nothing else can be done.”

Keywords:   Medical Humanities, Health Humanities, Medical education, Pedagogy, Literature and Medicine, Narrative Medicine, Pre-medical education, Moral imagination, Empathy, Hidden curriculum

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