Art-mediated peer-to-peer learning of empathy

Clin Teach. 2014 Aug;11(5):327-31. doi: 10.1111/tct.12157.


Background: Making experiential art in a clinical clerkship offers opportunities for students to gain self-awareness and enhance their empathic understanding of patients. The student-created art can be further used as teaching material for other students.

Context: The graduating class of 2012 from Ajou University School of Medicine in South Korea was interested in learning about medical humanities initiatives at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong (HKU), and made an educational visit in May 2012.

Innovation: As part of the core family medicine curriculum, third-year HKU medical students created poetry and art based on their experiences witnessing patients in pain and suffering. Twenty of the artworks and accompanying reflective writing were chosen for an exhibition. The visiting students viewed the exhibit and created their own art based on their emotional response to one piece selected from the exhibit.

Implications: The combination of viewing art made by their peers and creating art in response resulted in empathic understanding of patient pain and suffering, and an appreciation of holistic care and the value of the doctor-patient relationship. Medical student-generated artwork has the potential to educate both students and professionals on humanistic aspects of medical care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Art*
  • Clinical Clerkship / methods*
  • Empathy*
  • Holistic Health
  • Humans
  • Peer Group
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Poetry as Topic
  • Republic of Korea
  • Students, Medical / psychology