Building spaces for student narratives: An Indian medical school's experience
Dr Vinayak JainZoom
Medical education remains steeped in tradition. Despite advancements in teaching pedagogies (in both classrooms and hospital wards), there continue to exist tensions between the manifest and hidden curricula taught in medical schools. Gaps between these invisible and visible portions of the curricula are where conflicts arise. These include conflicts surrounding bias, prejudice, power, cultural competence, empathy, and altruism among others. Many of these have special relevance in the contemporary Indian context.
Using various mediums in the realm of Medical Humanities, we sought to build safe spaces for medical students where they could reflect and discuss how they felt about these conflicts in their training. These included the mediums of Classical Literature, Narrative Medicine, Theatre of the Oppressed, Performative Art, and Creative Writing. While the discussions were initiated by a faculty, we encouraged students to lead the conversations to avoid any power dynamic that might compromise the quality of experience. This also aided in the professional socialization that was integral to assimilate emergent ideas.
Our findings were based on data from semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observations of these narratives. Emergent themes include professional identity barriers, physician vulnerabilities & burnout, hierarchy, and the culture of gendered stereotypes in medicine. These themes demonstrate a clear conflict between what is taught and what is being learned. Further work needs to integrate these into the formal spaces of the medical curriculum.