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The University of Southampton
Medical Education

Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award for Linda Turner

Published: 30 April 2015

Congratulations to Linda Turner, who is Medicine’s winner of this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s teaching award.

A number of excellent applications were considered and the unanimous decision of the panel was to nominate Linda for her work developing, leading, and championing the Medical Humanities Student Selected Unit (SSU) in Year 1 of the five-year medical curriculum at Southampton.

This innovative and imaginative module has been running since 2008 offering student choice in the curriculum through various collaborations. Colleagues in the faculty of humanities offer music, Shakespeare and drama, film, cultural studies and history while artists deliver life drawing, portraiture, three dimensional and multimedia art, sound and experimental film. The Nuffield theatre provides a drama option and a death and dying option is offered by an actress. Creative and narrative writing are also delivered by colleagues in Medical Education including Linda.

Over the years, Linda has led and supported the interdisciplinary team of arts and humanities tutors and designed generic learning outcomes and assessment methods to reflect arts and humanities enquiry pertinent to tomorrow’s doctors.

Medical Humanities originated in North America but developed quickly into an international interdisciplinary field of education and research that includes the study of medicine by humanities scholars; arts enquiry into health and illness through literature, performance, theatre and visual art; as well as medical education. Medical educators recognised that engagement with the interface between medicine, healthcare, the arts and humanities could be utilised to explore the art and humanity of medicine in the medical curriculum.

At Southampton, the medical humanities module complements and broadens the science of the early years’ curriculum and is offered uniquely as a mandatory module so that all students experience it. Linda commented, “The aim is that students work outside their comfort zone, learning to think critically, work creatively and collaboratively, and reflect. The patient experience is highlighted through a creative outcome students have to produce which gives them an opportunity to consider how they might relate to that experience. The processes involved in learning medicine from the arts and humanities are as important as the content and it is hoped that they will be able to take these approaches and skills into the later years of the programme and future practice.”

Linda sits on the Association for Medical Humanities national council and in 2014 organised their annual conference, ‘The Art of Compassion’, which received Wellcome Trust funding and aimed to share the extent to which medical humanities can generate understanding and maximise its potential to transform medical practice.

Linda will receive her award during Graduation in July.

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