Pediatrics Residents Gain Patient Observation and Communication Skills by Interpreting Works of Art
More than two dozen second-year pediatrics residents and faculty members from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics recently visited UM’s Lowe Art Museum to work on their observation and communication skills by interpreting works of art.
Participating in small group workshops facilitated by the Lowe’s education team, the students carefully examined and discussed paintings and sculptures, and shared their ideas and perspectives openly.
The workshops employ the Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) teaching methodology that leads participants to slow down, observe, interpret, and share impressions of a work of art in an open, relaxed, and non-judgmental setting that fosters respectful dialog and tolerance for ambiguity.
“What takes place during the Fine Art of Health Care workshops is so relevant to the work these students do in clinical situations, but without the stress and pressure that can sometimes compromise patient outcomes,” said Hope Torrents, school programs coordinator and director of the Fine Art of Health Care program at the Lowe. “Here they have a chance to mindfully observe and to link visual and verbal cues — skills that are critical to their work as clinicians.”
The pediatrics residents agreed.
“It was an excellent experience — surprisingly impactful and eye-opening,” said Kevin Williams, a first-year resident.
Another first-year resident, Maria Cosentino, echoed Williams’ remarks.
“It’s a very interesting workshop that gives you tools for the practice of medicine,” she said.
“We were so fortunate to have our pediatrics resident physicians participate in the Lowe Art Museum’s Fine Art of Health Care program,” said Barry Gelman, M.D., associate professor of clinical pediatrics and director of pediatrics residency training at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Holtz Children’s Hospital. “Besides enjoying a relaxing day and each other’s company at the museum, the residents learned to appreciate art in a novel and sophisticated way — by relating their experience of viewing, contemplating, and discussing art objects in the museum to the ‘art’ of clinical medicine. I foresee they will return to these lessons over and over again during their remaining training, and throughout their careers. They will be better observers, better history-takers, better listeners, and better diagnosticians. In short, better doctors.”
The Fine Art of Health Care program will be offered again on June 20 to more than 240 medical and nursing graduate students as part of the annual Patient Safety Week course — a five-day collaborative education exercise held by the Miller School and the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies. The students will spend Wednesday of that week at the Lowe and participate in VTS workshops designed to enhance patient outcomes.