Mission: Medicine Unboxed engages the public and front-line NHS staff with a view of medicine that is infused and elaborated by the humanities. Contributors include artists, writers, the clergy, poets, philosophers, lawyers, linguists, musicians, theatre, ethicists, academics and doctors. The results are thought-provoking, inspiring, sometimes funny and often moving.
Good medicine is more than a set of technical decisions and interventions involving drugs, operations or tests. It demands more of the practitioner - professionalism, empathetic care, moral consideration, insight, an understanding of human suffering and necessarily, wisdom. These attributes are not always prioritised in selecting for or training healthcare professionals, and there is little time or attention given to their authentic development within busy working environments.
Further, there is a widening hiatus of trust, understanding and expectation between medicine and society around what constitutes good medicine. This pressingly requires real engagement around medicine’s role and society’s values. A purely scientific answer will never prove sufficient here.
The term ‘Medical humanities’ describes disciplines, which engage the relationship between Medicine and the Arts. Humanities such as fine art, literature, philosophy, ethics and contextual studies, inform medicine through unique insights into the human condition and the individual experience of Illness and disease, from both patients’ and practitioners’ perspectives. This is important, as it equips the medical practitioner with reflective, empathetic and analytical skills essential for providing good care.