A study conducted by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and University of Pennsylvania has revealed that taking art courses can enhance their professional and observatory skills of medical students and can also help them in becoming better doctors.
Observation skills are essential in the medical field to identify disease patterns, diagnose problems and other medical tasks. The study revealed that visual arts, description, interpretation and art observation sessions can help medical students in improving their observation skills.
This can further help in limiting inadequacies in the medical field. Thirty-six first-year medical students were asked by the university to take 1.5-hour art observation and interpretation sessions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
These art sessions did not comprise any clinical component and the takers have no previous record of formal art training. After the course, a significant improvement was recorded in these students’ recognition and observation skills.
These art sessions were taught by professional art teachers with the help of the ‘artful thinking’ approach that focuses on introspection and observation prior to interpretation.
These sessions comprised assessing work of art, visual art vocabulary and group discussion sessions. These sessions also involved reasoning, creative questioning and perspective taking.
Students who were part of the study and took the art sessions also demonstrated improvements in emotional recognition and empathy. However, the result did not show a significant difference between the test scores of the performance of students who took the art sessions and the control group.
Jaclyn Gurwin from the University of Pennsylvania said that the result of the study was very encouraging and that art courses can be used to improve medical and ophthalmological observational skills. He added that this can result in enhanced effectiveness in medical practices.