ORIGINAL RESEARCH 2250 DOWNLOADS

Students' perspectives about the medical humanities curriculum at the Catholic University of Korea

Wha S. Kang1, Seon-Hee Yim2, Ilene Harris3, Hyunjoo Na4 and Pyeong M. Kim5

1Department of Medical Lifescience, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Republic of Korea

2Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Republic of Korea

3Department of Medical Education, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

4Department of Health Systems Science, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

5Department of Humanities and Social Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Republic of Korea

Submitted: 22/05/2013; Accepted: 05/10/2013; Published: 26/10/2013

Int J Med Educ. 2013; 4:207-213; doi: 10.5116/ijme.524f.d329

© 2013 Wha S. Kang et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: This paper presents the results of a qualitative study aimed at elucidating how well the goals of the OMNIBUS curriculum implemented in Korea as a medical humanities curriculum were achieved, from the student perspective.

Methods: We conducted a qualitative study to elicit perspectives of students who participated in all 12 weeks of the OMNIBUS curriculum. Eighteen fourth-year medical students participated in two focus group interviews. Open-ended questions were prepared to guide the interviews. The interviews were audio-taped and transcribed. All data from the interviews were analyzed, using an inductive approach to identify themes.

Results: The main themes were "characteristics of a good doctor", "various careers in medicine", and "the need for changes in assessment methods". Seven subthemes that emerged were specifically related to "characteristics of a good doctor", including "variety of perspectives on the human condition", "feel empathy with patients from diverse backgrounds", "communicate effectively with patients", "clarify values", "roles as a leader in society", "give back to the community", and "satisfaction of being physicians and importance of physician self-care".

Conclusions: The themes identified in this study demonstrated that the OMNIBUS curriculum achieved its goals, from the student perspective. In the interviews, students also identified other strengths and areas for improvement of the curriculum.