“Literature’s Lessons for Medical Students”, Daniel Marchalik’s Reflections on the MedStar Health Blog
Drawing from his trajectory studying both medicine and literature, Dr. Daniel Marchalik reflects about the value of applying literature to the medical field in this post on the MedStar Health Blog.
First, Dr. Marchalik has explored the intersection between both fields in the Literature and Medicine Track, which he started in 2014 and is the country’s first dedicated literature and medicine track. “This program gives aspiring young doctors helpful tools to manage the greatest challenges in medical education: student burnout and their ability to remain connected to others”.
Second, he talks about the potential of the humanities to decrease burnout, which is something that he and his colleagues are studying in the Literature and Medicine Track, to see if students’ experiences with avoiding burnout match what students at other institutions have reported. “Based on the responses we’ve gotten so far, I expect we’re going to show that our program has had a substantial impact in this area of medical education for our students”.
Lastly, he notes that studying literature helps medical students develop cognitive empathy, that is, understanding other people by empathizing with characters and their struggles. “Being able to put yourself in your patient’s shoes is one of the most important things a doctor needs to be able to do. [The Literature and Medicine Track] helps medical students build these critical skills”.