Teaching Empathy through Movies: Reaching Learners’ Affective Domain in Medical Education

Pablo González Blasco, Graziela Moreto


We live in an era where outcomes, guidelines, and clinical trials are at the forefront of medical training. However, to care implies having an understanding of the human being and build reflective practitioners impregnated of a humanistic perspective of doctoring. Although technical knowledge and skills can be acquired through training with little reflective process, it is impossible to refine attitudes, acquire virtues, and incorporate values without reflection. Empathy, which is required for a deep understanding of the human condition, could bridge the gap between patient-centered medicine and evidence-based medicine therefore representing a profound therapeutic potential. The challenge is how to teach empathy, an important issue in medical education, hard to teach and to measure. The authors’ broad experience in medical education using movies points out an innovative methodology to promote empathy because it reaches the learners’ affective domain. A description of the cinematic teaching methodology is provided and an extensive list of movie scenes are included so faculty and educators can try it in their own teaching scenario.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jel.v1n1p22


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