"That's a child, it's not a diagnosis." What can pediatricians learn from medical humanities?: a mixed methods study.

Elinor Thomason, BARBARA JACK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate UK paediatric specialist trainees’ perceptions of a medical
humanities teaching session on their communication and empathy skills.
Methods: A medical humanities session was incorporated into a teaching programme for 19 doctors in their first
three years of paediatric training. Using set questions, participants discussed themes of communication, empathy,
ethical issues and language. A qualitative methodology was adopted for the evaluation. All doctors who undertook
the session were invited to join in a digitally recorded focus group and nine participated. Thematic analysis of the
transcript was undertaken by two researchers to identify and code key themes. Six months post-course all
participants were invited to complete an online survey looking at the longer-term impact of the session and five
Results: Coding of the transcript identified two key themes that participants felt the session added to their usual
teaching: i) communication and ii) reflection.
Conclusion: Literature-based teaching for junior paediatric doctors was well received and valued by participants
and adds to standard teaching. It provides a platform for consideration of the parental perspective and
communication (in particular the use of language) as well as providing structured time for reflection on clinical
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages11
Early online date12 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jun 2019



  • Medical humanities
  • paediatrics
  • communication
  • empathy
  • reflection
  • postgraduate teaching

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