Medical humanities in healthcare education in Italy: a literature review
The introduction of medical humanities (MH) in undergraduate medical education in Italy has been an issue of debate since the 90's and few years later it was extended to other healthcare degrees. The aims of this Italian literature review, after considering the international scene, are: to evaluate the extent to which the interest in this subject has gradually developed throughout the country; which professional groups have contributed to the debate; to identify which theoretical constructs led to the introduction of MH in undergraduate medical education; to identify whether a clear and shared definition of MH exists in Italian literature; to verify what kinds of MH experiences have been accomplished in Italy.
Materials and methods
A comprehensive literature search was conducted, including electronic databases, bibliographies, manual sorting of articles in paper format, congress proceedings.
The analysis of the chosen articles underlines that, however limited, Italian literature does not present a very different picture from the international scene. It emerges that teaching MH is believed to be an important feature in undergraduate education of healthcare professionals who intend to propose a bio-psychological-social approach to care, in spite of the difficulty to measure its short and long term effectiveness. The lack of a multidisciplinary, multi-professional approach is also evident.
Further research aiming to implement the quantity and quality of MH studies in the curricula of undergraduate healthcare education is desirable.