Reading as a rite for the training of future doctors: some reflections from Sir William Osler’s bedside library

  • Simona Giardina | simona.giardina@unicatt.it Dipartimento di Sicurezza e Bioetica, Universit  Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italia; Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Gemelli” IRCCS, Roma, Italy.
  • Pietro Refolo Dipartimento di Sicurezza e Bioetica, Universit  Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italia; Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Gemelli” IRCCS, Roma, Italy.
  • Antonio G. Spagnolo Dipartimento di Sicurezza e Bioetica, Universit  Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italia; Fondazione Policlinico Universitario “A. Gemelli” IRCCS, Roma, Italy.

Abstract

On the basis of some inputs both of the Iranian writer Azar Nafisi (The Republic of the Imagination 2015), according to which imaginative knowledge is pragmatic and of the great physician William Osler (1849-1919), who, being an avid reader and bibliophile, listed a number of classics – the so-called bedside library – which every future doctor should have read, the Authors highlight the importance of classics for improving personal growth of physicians as well as their clinical competence. Another input is from Italo Calvino, who argued that there are things that only literature can reach by its specific means. Literature is a sort of bridge that enables dialogue regardless of the worlds we live in (universality); it is a place of identification (empathy); it brings to light the archetypes of human behaviour (ethical resonance). On this basis is founded the idea of stimulating the reading of the classics starting from the first year of medical student training in the context of Medical Humanities.

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Published
2021-07-26
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How to Cite
Giardina, S., Refolo, P., & Spagnolo, A. G. (2021). Reading as a rite for the training of future doctors: some reflections from Sir William Osler’s bedside library. Medicina E Morale, 70(2), 195-203. https://doi.org/10.4081/mem.2021.937