Don’t Sacrifice Your Creativity for Medicine; It Makes You a Better Doctor

brain artwork“Art is the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.” If this statement hadn’t already been so eloquently articulated by Leonardo Da Vinci, it would have been my own. These words perfectly illustrate my view of the relationship between art and science, and how this relationship has fueled my unique path towards a career in medicine.

As an undergraduate, I focused my studies on medical illustrating, a career that would incorporate my passion in both science and art. I aspired to be like Dr. Frank H. Netter,  my artistic icon, because of his technical expertise to teach and communicate medical information through detailed drawings. However, after college I realized my true interest was in medicine and science taught through visual aid.

In the beginning of medical school, I found myself struggling, like so many other medical students, to keep a balance between a life outside of school and studies. During this time, I had lost my connection to art, and partially who I was. As time went on, I found myself drawing out the medical material that I was learning. Whether that be the connections of the brachial plexus or drawing a silly cartoon to remember the side effects of a drug. The material not only stuck better but it gave me an outlet to destress and take better care of myself. I started to view art as not a completely separate entity from medicine but as an important tool for learning and a way I could destress. I was happier, healthier and a more successful student. 

As I transitioned into clinicals, I found myself being a much more effective teacher and communicator to my patients by drawing out Tazmanian devil artpathophysiology. It was a way I could sit down and take the time to connect with my patients. I believe that a lot of people are visual learners, and as a physician if you can be a more effective teacher you can empower patients to better be in charge of their own health care.

As I am in the first few months of residency and starting my career in internal medicine, I hope to continue to use art as an important educational tool not only to teach myself and medical students, but to more effectively communicate with my patients. I believe that being an artist makes me a better doctor in a multitude of ways. Although I am still early in my career, I realize that physicians and other health care workers have a difficult time prioritizing taking care of ourselves. I believe that as a health care professional, making time for our passions and creative endeavors outside of medicine allows us to recharge our batteries. If you can find ways to incorporate your creativity into medicine, even better!

lionFor more art and medicine, I post on Instagram @desigene.

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Comments on "Don’t Sacrifice Your Creativity for Medicine; It Makes You a Better Doctor"

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Jay Joseph - Friday, September 20, 2019

Desire, Yes, that is a wonderful attribute, and use it fully. Although lacking true artistic ability, my limited drawings of planned surgical procedures, were found to be extremely helpful in relaxing my patients prior to surgery, as well as following procedures. Suggest you check with Donald Stoltz D.O., who knew and met with Dr. Netter. Don wrote and illustrated a number of books to help his own patients. Jay Harris Joseph, D.O, MEd. FACOS (PCOM '56)

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