Creative expressive encounters in health ethics education: teaching ethics as relational engagement
The growing expectation that health practitioners should be ethically attuned and responsive to the broader humanistic and moral dimensions of their practice has seen a rise in medical ethics courses in universities. Many of these courses incorporate creative expressive encounters-such as the exploration and interpretation of poetry, art, music, and literature-as a powerful vehicle for increasing understanding of the illness experience and to support a relational approach to ethics in health care practices. Description: First-year paramedic students were invited to produce their own creative composition in response to a short vignette describing the plight of a fictional "patient-other." Our aim was twofold: first, to engage their "sympathetic imaginations" to capture a sense of illness as being not only a fracturing of bodily wellness but also, for many, a fracturing of holistic well-being, and second, to encourage an ethics of relational engagement-rather than an ethics based on the detached, intellectual mastery of moral principles and theories-within their paramedical practice. Evaluation: After some initial apprehension, students embraced this task, producing works of great insight and sensitivity to the embedded and embodied nature of "being." Their work demonstrated deep ethical understanding of the multiple subjective and intersubjective layers of the illness experience, displaying a heightened understanding of ethics in practice as a relational engagement. Conclusion: Educationally, we found this to be an extremely powerful and successful pedagogical tool,with our students noting emotional and intellectual transformations that challenged and sensitised them to the deeper human dimensions of their practice.
Teaching and Learning in Medicine
Education not elsewhere classified