According to Jacobus and Martin (2019), studying humanities can increase our sensitivity to ourselves, others, and the values in our world. This understanding is essential for healthcare professionals who encounter diverse patients with different cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and values. By studying humanities, healthcare professionals can develop empathy and a deeper understanding of others’ perspectives, which can improve patient-centered care. Additionally, studying literature from different time periods allows professionals to compare past practices with current ones, enabling them to learn from the wisdom and experiences of the past. For example, understanding the historical context of medical practices can help healthcare professionals appreciate the evolution of healthcare and make informed decisions in their own practice (Jacobus & Martin, 2019).
In addition to its professional benefits, engaging in humanities can also have personal significance. Enjoying music from the 60s and 70s, for instance, allows individuals to appreciate how music styles have changed over time. This not only offers personal enjoyment but also opens one’s mind to the broader cultural shifts that have occurred within society. Likewise, drama, as part of the humanities, can enhance communication skills for healthcare professionals. Effective communication is crucial in nursing, as it enables professionals to effectively collaborate with colleagues, physicians, and patients (Macnaughton, 2000). Drama provides opportunities to explore verbal and non-verbal communication techniques, which can then be applied in real-life contexts. By studying drama, healthcare professionals can gain valuable insights into non-verbal cues, body language, and active listening, contributing to improved patient interactions and overall patient outcomes.
Furthermore, the personal enjoyment of the humanities serves as a form of self-expression and an avenue for relaxation. For example, indulging in one’s favorite music allows for emotional release and serves as a means of self-care. The Broadway show “Wicked” holds particular significance for the author as it stems from personal memories and experiences. Growing up in Kansas, where the Wizard of Oz story is set, brings back childhood memories and a sense of connection to a place and time (Jacobus & Martin, 2019). These personal connections to artistic expressions can provide individuals with a sense of nostalgia, evoke emotions, and facilitate personal growth and reflection.
In conclusion, engaging in the humanities can provide numerous benefits for healthcare professionals. It enhances their understanding of others, historical perspectives, and cultural shifts while improving communication skills and empathy. The personal enjoyment of the humanities also offers opportunities for self-expression, relaxation, emotional release, and personal growth. By incorporating the humanities into their lives and professional practice, healthcare professionals can enrich their experiences and become more compassionate, well-rounded caregivers.
Jacobus, F. D., & Martin, L. A. (2019). The humanities through the arts. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Macnaughton, J. (2000). The humanities in medical education: context, outcomes and structures. Medical Humanities, 26(1), 23-30. https://mh.bmj.com/content/medhum/26/1/23.full.pdf