The Inner World of Medical Students

Johanna Shapiro, Ph.D.

Countless teachers and practitioners of American biomedicine have long insisted on a dichotomy between “real medicine” or “hard science” and “soft stuff” such as the social sciences and humanities. In this view, “real medicine” is biology, and everything else is either mere “background” or superfluous information. There, are, however, many ways of knowing in medicine and life, and we all are impoverished to the degree that human tissue is the only worthwhile type of knowledge that is valued. Poetry, story, visual art, and music bring onto center stage the doctor and patient as experiencing subjects, the “who” that is always a part of the “what” of medicine.

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