Medical Students’ Efforts to Integrate and/or Reclaim Authentic Identity: Insights from a Mask-Making Exercise

by Johanna Shapiro

Medical students’ mask-making can provide valuable insights into personal and professional identity formation and wellness. A subset of first- and second-year medical students attending a medical school wellness retreat participated in a mask-making workshop. Faculty-student teams examined student masks and explanatory narratives using visual and textual analysis techniques. A quantitative survey assessed student perceptions of the experience.We identified an overarching theme: “Reconciliation/reclamation of authentic identity.” The combination of nonverbal mask-making and narrative offers rich insights into medical students’ experience and thinking. This activity promoted reflection and self-care, while providing insight regarding personal and professional development.

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