The actual dogma is that learning the humanities makes physicians human. It appears to be good. It might even sound naturally right. But the “common” in common sense is often the unprocessed variety. Hiding within the medical humanities’ manifesto is a way of associative thinking, a kind of causal fallacy: it is the idea that fictional or philosophical consumption and sympathy for a one’s fellow beings, adhere to a simple straight line direction.
And herein can be found the problem. There is no efficient proof that learning literary works enhances stages of sympathy among doctors. This is not to say the dogma won’t yet be vindicated. And it is not to say educating or enhancing stages of concern among medical care learners and physicians is an insignificant process. In fact, the very opposite is the case: sympathy and concern form an important part of the doctor-patient connection. Doctors need to be aware of the variety of experiences that diseases and personal conditions can bring. Empathy is also essential in developing the kind of environment where sufferers can connect successfully and when sufferers aren’t forth-coming about signs, physicians skip a significant item of the challenge.
The point is that nobody, least of all medical care educationalists, can manage to be glib about how this aspect of medical care professionalism and reliability can best be found or obtained. And what about other medical care professionals? Exponents of the fictional medical care humanities appear less desperate to ingratiate themselves among nurses, for example. Couldn’t our nurses, home health aides and other medical care employees use some of this (purported) fictional elixir? An educational Google search located one book suggesting the use of (specifically) “popular literature” among nurses. According to this thinking, we should recommend Danielle Steele to our medical staff, while providing Dostoyevsky to the medics.