Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Empathy and the Medical Humanities

Date: 16 Sep 2022, Friday | Time: 1620 - 1750 | Track Type: Main Conference Workshop | Format: Face-to-face | Venue: Seminar Room L2-S3 & L2-S4, Academia

Speakers: Assoc Prof Warren Fong, Dr Crystal Lim & Ms Min Chiam


Empathy is important in establishing a therapeutic relationship, but medical professionals may feel overwhelmed or lost when trying to convey empathy. Empathy can be nurtured using the medical humanities, such as through film, literary, historical and autobiographical narratives. Illness narratives and the movies are provoking, impactful, interesting and effective tools for fostering empathy and self-awareness in healthcare professionals.

In caring for patients, physicians must shift from the biomedical disease framework to an illness concept to appreciate patients’ experience of being ill and navigating treatment and care. This requires physician empathy.  Practitioners needs effective tools to allow their natural empathy to manifest and enhance their skills in correctly identifying patients’ emotions and delivering empathetic response. This experiential workshop draws from medical humanities, specifically the use of movies, literary, historical and autobiographical narratives. Participants will learn, hands-on, ways to foster doctors and medical students’ ability to identify and interpret patients’ cognitive and emotional experience, and convey empathetic response.

The symposium comprises three segments:

  1. Assoc Prof Warren Fong: Humanistic Medicine and Me
  2. Dr Crystal Lim: CineMed
  3. Ms Chiam Min: Reading the Body

Participants will learn the use of movies to facilitate reflective discourse and teach empathetic patient communication. Movies evoke and provoke, providing rich emotional and intellectual content in illness portrayal, and sensitising viewers to patients’ plight. Movies raise self-awareness and challenges perspectives and prejudices in diversity issues such as race, class and sexual orientation.

Participants will also learn to better understand features of clinical and patient narratives and how the human body is rendered differently. This segment will use case histories, literary, and media resources to expand and deepen ways of approaching illness, suffering and pain through close reading strategies.

Learning Outcome(s):

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Integrate the elements of empathy in curricular design.
  • Implement narrative training in medical education.
  • Utilize movies as educational tools for nurturing empathy.

A pre-post survey will be conducted to ascertain if the learning outcomes were achieved.

Target Audience:

Healthcare professionals, medical educators and medical students. There is no pre-requisite for this workshop.

< Back to Programme