The humanities and nursing: using popular literature as a means of understanding human experience

J Adv Nurs. 1995 May;21(5):960-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1995.21050960.x.


The rapid advances in technology during the twentieth century have encouraged science and technology to be the main focus of the nursing curricula. The effect of this focus tends to hinder the importance of the human condition. This paper discusses the benefits of including the humanities, particularly but not exclusively the inclusion of literary study in nursing curricula. It is argued that the study of popular literature by students of nursing provides them with the opportunity to understand and to appreciate life experiences. This assists them in gaining awareness and sensitivity to the many physical and psychological components of people's reactions to health, illness and hospitalization. The power of literary study to promote an appreciation of the hurt and pain of disease is considered by the authors to be an effective teaching tool within a comprehensive programme for students of nursing.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Nursing
  • Humanities*
  • Humans
  • Literature, Modern*
  • Medicine in Literature*
  • Nursing*
  • Sociology
  • Technology