Clerkship Elective

ELECTIVE DESCRIPTION: Health Humanities Skills for the Clinician

For clinical clerks at Cumming School of Medicine AND other Canadian medical schools

Clinical skills start to be acquired in medical school and are honed over one’s career thereafter.  This elective emphasizes the breadth of skills required for diagnosis, management and relationship-building.  It also allows exploration of the inherent limitations of the human mind – reflection, attentiveness, self-knowledge, bias and how to manage one’s toolkit.

A key aspect of this elective is the opportunity to work together with tow preceptors - both a clinician and an academic from the arts or humanities.  This approach promotes the best opportunity for a deeper, interdisciplinary understanding of the role of the physician in society.  We encourage students to address aspects of care that they consider high priority and to gain new perspectives on these.  At the same time, the student will be asked to consistently focus on what they learn or imagine about the patient’s experience of their illness.

The diseases or specialty focus of the clinical aspects of the elective will be determined by the student’s interests in consultation with the preceptor(s).  Typically, one preceptor will be from the relevant medical specialty and the other from the relevant department of art or humanities.

Practical experience: Students may work in (1) clinical settings or (2) with peers.

Objectives: Most students will produce a final product that illustrates their new understanding of their chosen topic.  This might be a summary paper; a piece of creative writing such as a short story or poem; a drawing or painting with commentary; a narrative in the form of play or film or digital story; or another product in consultation with their preceptor(s).


DURATION:  Number of weeks students can request.  Between 2 and 4 weeks.

NUMBER OF STUDENTS ACCEPTED:   We are able to accept at most 2 students at one time.


Contact name: Tom Rosenal MD

Site:                 Health Sciences Centre


Telephone:       403-681-1248