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ISSN - DIGITAL
0719-949X
ISSN - IMPRESO
0719-9481
Journal of Health and Medical Sciences
Volumen 5, Fascículo 3, 2019

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<div class=»line»><span class=»html-tag»>&lt;issn&gt;</span><span class=»text»>0718-4808</span><span class=»html-tag»>&lt;/issn&gt;</span></div>
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<strong>INTRODUCTION</strong>

Benefits of reading are crucial in higher education for bettering professional development in the knowledge era since competencies required and obtained for and from it become crucial to face challenges dealing with medical learning, teaching, researching and practicing in a globalized world. Reading is also a fruitful tool not only for speeding up intelligence and stimulating cognitive development but for protecting from cerebral degenerative diseases in addition to increasing cultural background. As such, developed countries have encouraged reading to achieve high rates as a way to structure people wealth towards a high cultural threshold (Jaim, 2003).

At the same time, humanities promote medical capabilities by providing useful knowledge, improving humanitarian attitudes, generating renewed habits, fostering complementary values and refining special skills. By being essentially interdisciplinary and by enhancing interprofessional and interdisciplinary awareness, humanities can break down power gaps inherent in health science professions helping to reconcile different world-views based on shared values (Halperin, 2010).

Given the simultaneous weakening and depreciation of reading when compared to the one existing in formerly less advanced technological times along with the still uncertain role of humanities curricula in medical education (Taylor <em>et al</em>., 2017; 2018), thinking strategies employing current instruments, technical resources or suitable procedures may help.

Emphasizing the relevance of literature for developing cultural competences in medical education (Calman <em>et al</em>., 1988; Hunter <em>et al</em>., 1995; Shigley, 2013; Shapiro <em>et al</em>., 2015; D’Ottavio, 2019) and contributing to surmount a local prejudice that many graduates lack general culture, this paper aims to encourage that development through this art and theory. In this regard, it reports results of a preliminary experience achieved after applying to a group of medical students an extramural and multidisciplinary six-step literary reading approach based on information and communication technologies (ICT).

<strong>MATERIAL AND METHOD</strong>

Thirty-five students (85 % females), coursing the second year in our medical school, were selected based on their curricular performance to fulfill the institutionally established quota for assisting to the annual optional training course on Histology and Embryology. All of them took part in the here described preliminary extramural experience during 2018, giving and signing the corresponding consent according the requirements of our medical school ethical committee.

This extramural and multidisciplinary literary reading approach had to be completed following a list of instructions, compatible with seen below, during two months maximum for not disturbing other curricular tasks.

Their initial challenge consisted in selecting a book in the web. In this regard, it is pointed out that the participants mainly chose medical novels written by physicians (The Citadel by Archibald Joseph Cronin and Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham), journalists (The Physician by Noah Gordon) or philologists (The Emperor’s Doctor by Tessa Korber) and best sellers as Da Vinci Code and Inferno by Dan Brown, among others.

Once the book was chosen in paper or electronic support, they were successively faced to the following six- step tasks: (1) knowing the author’s biography and the historical, political, socio-economic and geographic context in what that book was written; (2) investigating the same context in which its narration took place; (3) incorporating the unknown words, their meanings and etymologies; (4) identifying rhetorical figures like comparison and metaphor (comparison uses the words like or as to contrast things and metaphor, do not), metonymy (designation one thing or idea with the name of another) and its variants: metalepsis, synecdoche and antonomasia, hyperbole (excessive increase or decrease in speech), anaphora (repetition of a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses) and personification or prosopopeia (human attributes given to an idea or an animal); (5) employing virtual maps to locate and access to sites mentioned in the book, and (6) viewing related on-line documentary films.

These tasks had to be  subsequently summarized in an individual report in one duly signed A4 page, 2.5 cm margins, letter Times New Roman and simple line spacing.

Three physicians specialized in Spanish language, who also participate in Spanish courses for non-Spanish speaking students, evaluated each challenge as satisfactory or unsatisfactory putting special accent in the steps related with etymologies and rhetorical figures because of its particular difficulties.

 

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