The hospital room is / fair, square, sterile — / by its vapid / medical posters / and lusterless hospital tools.
Ruchica Chandnani, Class of 2024 at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, contributes this poem as an in-Training writer and current managing editor of the publication since 2021.
2020 was a tough year for all of us (and 2021, and 2022…), but it brought me closer to the medical humanities. The pandemic was the reason that I began to write.
To fully capture the breadth of medical humanities is simply not possible. In fact, it is all too easy for the medical community to lack an appreciation for all of the ways that the humanities not only complement, but enhance medicine. Medicine — a field so biological and chemical — is often associated with far more rigidity than where the humanities permits the mind to go.
Studies have shown that physicians with exposure and background in the humanities are more empathetic, ethical, expressive and even healthier. Recently, medical school curricula across the country have begun to emphasize communication, teamwork, problem solving and humanistic care, as the dichotomous view of the sciences as a separate entity from art and literature is becoming obsolete.
On a search for / assurance, / I was sat across / the Intrepid
I often joke about how worthless my art history studies were, but I never mean it. The truth is that my training in the humanities, while being unconventional for medicine, has prepared me to be a better physician and clinician.
It was 5 p.m. on a Thursday and I had just finished my first preceptorship session with my fourth-year medical student preceptor. That afternoon was one of many firsts, as it was also the first time I conducted a patient interview. My first-ever patient was a middle-aged woman in the emergency room talking to me through Zoom. I remember introducing myself nervously, stuttering on the few syllables that make up my name, and then asking what brought her to the hospital.
A picture is worth 1,000 words, and the world today is full of symbols. Emojis share paragraphs of information. Logos inform us about what a company represents or does. Shapes and colors share messages of safety or caution on the road. Symbols are everywhere and understanding them brings deeper understanding to the world around us. Medicine is a field of precision, and that is precisely why it is so strange that such confusion exists as to which symbol should represent it.
like breath in our lungs / we do not notice it / until it is gone
A recent publication in the Journal of Neurology caused significant outrage not only within a forum dedicated to Black doctors and trainees, but also in the medical community online at large. Much like the rest of the readers, I was deeply troubled and did not understand the purpose of the article.
The road to medical school mostly requires good grades in the hard sciences, high entrance exam scores, volunteering, and other quality extracurricular experiences. Once in medical school, the curriculum is a rollercoaster ride of learning anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnosis, and treatment. At first glance, the journey seems to leave little room for anything else. Along the way, we also often hear about cultivating behavioral decorum and social intelligence as soon as our third year clinical rotations begin, or possibly even sooner.