University of Oxford
Humanities for Third Years, George Washington University.pdf (243.03 kB)

Humanities for Third Years, George Washington University

Download (243.03 kB)
online resource
posted on 2022-07-06, 16:20 authored by Post Discipline AdminPost Discipline Admin
The Other End of the Stethoscope “Literature not only illuminated another’s experience, it provided, I believed, the richest material for moral reflection” We all have a vision of what a doctor should be. And as you develop into that ideal, it is important to be frequently reminded of who you are, where you are, and how close you are to realizing that vision. But, sometimes that is difficult to do in medical school. Though standardized tests and memorization of triads teach you to think like a doctor, it is much harder to learn how to act like one.1-5 Perhaps discussing literature will be more effective than a science textbook here.5-8 Over our sessions, we aim to hone our skills of observation, first of our patients and then of ourselves, with a particular focus on discovering our feelings towards medicine and becoming better professionals.6-8 Who knew sharing feelings could make you a better doctor? This colloquium will use texts from physician authors as our guides to self-awareness: sometimes fiction, but often memoir or non-fiction.9 This is not a literature course nor is it creative writing, although both these disciplines can influence your own appreciation of our discussions.10 You do not have to have a background in the arts or humanities to participate as these tools will be taught just as we teach physical diagnostic maneuvers or clinical reasoning skills. Each seminar will rely on a reading from a physician that will serve as a thematic focus for that session’s discussion. Students will come to meetings with a written reaction to the reading and formulate discussion questions to share with the group.4 Our discussions will begin with moderator-led questions focusing on the author’s environment, the author’s attitude towards patients and medicine, and your reactions to these views based on your experience of patients, medicine, and society. Your own memoirs are welcomed but not required. Elective only. GWU also appears to offer a Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration. For more information, see: This information has been collected for the Post-Discipline Online Syllabus Database. The database explores the use of literature by schools of professional education in North America. It forms part of a larger project titled Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities, led by Dr Merve Emre with the assistance of Dr Hayley G. Toth. You can find more information about the project at Data was collected and accurate in 2021/22.


Subject Area


Geographic Region

South Atlantic

University or College

George Washington University

Funding Status


Endowment (according to NACUBO's U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20) ($1,000)


Annual Tuition and Mandatory Fees 2021-2022 ($) (Resident; Non-resident, where applicable)


Course Title

Humanities for Third Years

Terminal Degree of Instructor(s)

PhD English

Position of Instructor(s)

Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of Medical Humanities

Academic Year(s) Active

unclear, but ongoing

Course Enrolment


Primary Works on Reading List

Lewis Thomas, Lives of a Cell; Ernest Hemingway, Indian Camp; Sandeep Jauhar, Intern; Danielle Ofri, Scared Witless (from How Doctors Feel); Richard Selzer, Mercy; Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, On the Ward (from Hospital Sketchbook: Life on the Ward Through an Intern's Eyes); Samuel Shem, The House of God; David Hilfiker, Mistakes; Oliver Sacks, A Surgeon's Life; and Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air.

Usage metrics

    Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities



    Ref. manager