Kimberly Myers, an associate professor of humanities at Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, Pa., said the mini-courses were designed to increase creative stimulation and variety in physicians' daily routines to help sharpen critical thinking skills, improve job satisfaction and encourage innovative thinking.
The courses were an outgrowth of a pilot initiative called the Penn State Hershey Physician Writers Group, which Myers founded and facilitated.
The group met every other week for three months and explored how medically related topics were featured in different literary genres. Participants wrote original pieces, which they discussed and edited with each other and Myers.
Many physicians' writings were published in professional journals, and the physicians reported overwhelming satisfaction with the experience. As a result of the pilot program's success, the researchers and their colleagues in the Department of Humanities developed and conducted eight mini-courses on different topics throughout 2010 to 2011.
"For decades, career development theory has identified a stage that occurs at midlife, characterized by a desire to escape the status quo and pursue new ventures," Myers said in a statement. "It is increasingly clear that these mid-career professionals are yearning to explore ways of thinking that are outside of their usual responsibilities."
The findings were appear in Academic Medicine.
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