Summary: Dr Neel Sharma and Vivian Chau reflect on encouraging creativity in medical education. Description: As we watch our medical students progress through countless assignments and exams it is easy to forget our time during the daunting University process. Moreover it can be quite easy to become critical of our yet to be qualified doctors when they forget for example to ask about activities of daily living when taking a history or forget to assess for a collapsing pulse during a cardiovascular examination. The reality is only with experience will these aspects of patient assessment become second nature, and to be really honest, I doubt many of us clinicians reading this have ever detected a collapsing pulse. As opposed to being critical of our students why not simply tell them that we also made such errors during our more youthful days.

Well in an effort to reward students some well needed rest and relaxation during what can be deemed turbulent times, the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine holds an annual art jamming session on campus. Here students are free to demonstrate their non academic, more creative persona in the great outdoors… certainly a well needed breath of fresh air.

Currently there is much discussion about ways to encourage creativity in medicine. Some old school clinicians we have spoken to certainly doubt its relevance and would rather their juniors focus purely on list learning being sure to think cancer if someone presents with weight loss and shortness of breath or a myocardial infarction if presenting with chest pain and high blood pressure. Of course we don’t doubt the relevance of this but medicine isn’t exactly black and white. After all it was Sir William Osler who once said, ‘It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.’


Dr Neel Sharma, Honorary Clinical Lecturer, Centre for Medical Education, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Email - [email protected], Vivian Chau, Institute of Medical and Health Sciences Education, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong