“Students may begin their medical school careers riding on a cloud of altruism and goodwill, but it’s not long before the grueling schedule, avalanche of new vocabulary and stubborn patients can take a toll.
To return the student brain to a state of balance, David Watts, MD, UCSF professor of clinical medicine, argues that a healthy dose of literature — poems and stories, specifically — be a core part of the student experience.
It may seem counter-intuitive: Adding more work to an already-loaded academic schedule seems like a recipe for disaster. But in an article titled “Cure for the Common Cold” published last month in The New England Journal of Medicine, Watts says that poems and stories — even just a few a week — can show students the richness of human relationships. In other words, imaginative literature can reignite the compassionate spark that spurred students toward the healing arts in the first place, according to Watts.”