A self-report of the Healer's art by junior doctors: Does the course have a lasting influence on personal experience of humanism, self-nurturing skills and medical counterculture? Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:Healer's Art (HA) is a voluntary course offered during medical school. The course aims to address the growing loss of meaning and commitment experienced by doctors through the exploration of compassion, empathy and awe in medicine, and early exposure to a supportive community of practice. This project aimed to evaluate the potential influence of HA on junior doctor graduates. METHODS:Junior doctors who had undertaken HA during their medical studies were interviewed. A thematic analysis was performed on the results of these semi-structured interviews. RESULTS:Ten junior doctors who had undertaken the HA course participated in interviews. All interviewees described the HA as a positive and enlightening experience in their medical education. The thematic analysis identified four major themes: developing empathy in the doctor-patient journey, self-care and self-awareness, the creation of a supportive community, and coping with the challenging medical culture. CONCLUSIONS:HA provides experiential learning that enables participants to explore humanistic medicine. Self-selected junior doctors recall the course as a positive experience, and perceive themselves to be continuing to employ the techniques from HA in the healthcare setting. The concepts taught in the HA course appear to have a lasting personal impact on some junior doctors, who identify the course as influencing their self-reported positive patient-doctor relationships and supportive relationships with medical peers.

publication date

  • 2019