The role and importance of integrating humanities into medical education has been recognized for a long time. However, to what extent humanities are included in the medical curricula and how and when they are taught during the medical training in medical schools across the world is unclear. The review was undertaken to study the current status and role of humanities in medical education
Humanities content in the medical curriculum and the teaching of humanities continue to remain unstandardized. What constitutes medical humanities is unclear as there are several understandings of medical humanities. The benefits and value – both short term and long term – of including humanities in training of doctors and other health professionals remain unresolved and continue to be debated. Although some surveys have shown that exposure to the humanities was significantly correlated with positive personal qualities, including empathy, tolerance for ambiguity, wisdom, emotional appraisal, self-efficacy, and spatial skills, and inversely correlated with some components of burnout, robust evidence from well conducted studies to support the benefits of integrating humanities into medical training is very limited. An overreaching conceptual or theoretical framework for the health humanities in health professionals’ education continue to be elusive.
The status, stature, profile, and role of humanities in medical education remain varied across medical schools and universities. There is a need for standardized curricula, uniform criteria and guidelines for teaching medical humanities, training modules / materials, methods of assessment and better integration of humanities in medical education.