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Saturday, 30 September, 2000, 23:40 GMT 00:40 UK
'Poetry please' say medics
student doctors
Medical students will write poetry and fiction
Medical students are being encouraged to express their hopes and fears about becoming doctors through creative writing classes.

The medical school at the University of Newcastle is setting up an optional seven week module, where students will write poetry and fiction alongside completing the medical curriculum.


It's about meeting the need for a wider education of doctors

Professor Richard Thomson
Workshops will be run by Carol Clewlow - author of A Woman's Guide to Adultery - who has been appointed as the school's first writer in residence.

It is hoped the scheme will address concerns raised by the General Medical Council about the highly factual content of a degree in medicine.

"It's partly about students being able to express themselves well and partly about the therapeutic components of creative writing," said Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at Newcastle University, Richard Thomson.

"But it's also about meeting the need for a wider education of doctors."

Profession of pressure

Carol Clewlow said a better educated, highly expectant and more litigious public had increased pressure on the medical profession.

"I want to feed in what I think are the fears about being young doctors, to use writing therapeutically," Ms Clewlow said.

She also intends to build on the need for future doctors to read widely.

"Art is a fast track to learning about humankind. I want to encourage medical students to read more and get them to see literature as a resource for learning about people - and God knows they need to know about people!"

The introduction of the creative writing workshops follows the success over the past two years of a literary module, in which third-year undergraduates study novels and poetry with a medical theme.

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