Skip to main content


Table 5 Post-graduate development

From: The long-term impact of a comprehensive scholarly concentration program in biomedical ethics and medical humanities

Incorporating BEMH into clinical practice
 Graduates have increased familiarity and comfort with bioethics and clinical ethics
  The big ethical issues come up every day in clinical practice and research…. The training that we got, especially…hands-on doing consults with…the ethics committee was very helpful. (I-8)
  [Though] plastic surgery is based on a set of rules, how you use those rules is completely dependent on how you...think as an individual. The sort of things that you learn in the SC are …how you are able to think about various things outside of the hard confines of…hard science…[to consider] whatever else they’ve been through in their lives or how compliant they are, how old they are, what their living situation is. (I-7)
 Graduates incorporate narrative in appreciating patients as individuals.
  I think being able to think about each person…[as] having a story that’s helpful in talking to the patient, gathering information and really understanding who they are…[and] also in communicating to colleagues because humans are such narrative creatures. (I-10)
  In the same way…as being able to communicate with someone, observing…. I’m thinking of two things…it’s truly effective in helping with the physical exam in that context of observation, but also observing people…their thoughts, interacting with them, observing their emotions. (I-5)
Career decisions and lifestyle
 Graduates value and practice self-care, wellness, and work-life balance
  I really strongly believe in work-life balance, and it’s something hard to achieve in a medical career, but I think I’m doing okay with that, and I’m sure it has something to do with my experience in the concentration.… I think in order to be a good doctor you have to take care of yourself as well, particularly because we see so much sad stuff all the time, and sometimes being able to reflect on it by writing or by discussing like we did in our classes can be really therapeutic and help make you a better doctor. (I-14)
  [The BEMH SC has] affected my planning for the future…. I don’t want to devote my time solely to working 24/7, I would like to balance my life with some kind of more humanistic literary/writing type of work, which I think offsets the potential of burning out. (I-12)
 Graduates’ time in BEMH influenced their choice of specialty
  Knowing I…was very interested in writing and having time to write and join writing groups… made me want to find a specialty that…would give me the time and space…to be able to step back from my clinical work and think more broadly about myself in medicine and some of the challenges from a more macro level…. I feel like that certainly affected the field that I chose…trying to find the right balance. (I-6)
 Graduates had positive role models for careers in or incorporating BEMH
  A lot of the faculty within the concentration are not…super traditional…they have…these outside interests that are…quirky for lack of a better word…. Seeing that and interacting with people like that made me appreciate that you could have…an alternative perspective on medicine but still be a very rigorous, very good clinician-scientist. (I-9)
 Some graduates pursued careers in or incorporating BEMH
  There’s the effect of having a couple of people that are trained and confident in this aspect of medicine…it’s a little bit infectious, it changes the culture of the department and a residency…in a very healthy way…. If I had been in a medical school [without] a medical humanities department, it wouldn’t have occurred to me that this was something I could do, that it was needed and that there’s a place for it and that it can be rigorous. (I-18)
  I’m building a communication curriculum for our pediatric residents…arising out of a needs assessment…. It’s something that from the beginning of my medical career was extremely important, and sadly, I don’t think is prioritized as much as other knowledge. (I-17)
  1. Illustrative quotes from participants on the perceived impact of the BEMH SC on post-graduate development