Enhancing GP education through the Arts

Enhancing GP education through the Arts


Reflective practice

‘Knowing yourself’ is recognised as a fundamental skill for GPs and is developed through reflective practice.

The RCGP curriculum Fitness to Practice section outlines the importance of self awareness in ‘Maintaining an ethical approach’:

“There will be cultural (including religious) differences between you and many of your patients. Your own values, attitudes, and feelings are important determinants of how you practice medicine. This is especially true in general practice where you as a doctor will be involved as a person in a one-to-one and continuing relationship with your patient, not merely as a medical provider.

As a GP you should aim at understanding and learning to use your own attitudes, strengths and weaknesses, values and beliefs in a partnership with your individual patients. This requires a reflective approach and the development of insight and an awareness of self. Being honest and realistic about your own abilities, strengths, weaknesses and priorities will help you in dealing with your patients and their problems; the lack of such self-awareness will make your job as a GP very difficult“.



Currently, GP trainees are required to reflect through written prose in their ePortfolios. Many report that they find this difficult and trainees often describe experiences rather than reflecting on what they have learnt. In this module we will be offering GP trainees the opportunity to learn about reflective practice through the Arts, in workshops lead by artists, writers and photographers interested in reflective practice.


GP Trainee photograph

GP Trainee photograph

Module Outline

Sessions 1&2: Self-reflection through photography

This photography workshop will encourage GP trainees to engage in meaningful self-reflection by demonstrating its benefits and providing an accessible means to do it.

Led by Rutherford, previously a professional photographer and currently Programme Leader of the MA Advertising programme, Bournemouth University. Since withdrawing from commercial practice, Rutherford’s photographs have been exhibited in galleries in Canada, France, the US, Japan, New Zealand and the UK.

“In addition to snapshots of friends and family, holidays and special events, many of us also make pictures … just because we like the way something looked, but often with knowing why our attention was attracted to a particular scene. What we photograph and the way we photograph it can often provide us with valuable insights into the way we see ourselves and so offer us a means to increased self awareness.” Rutherford (2009). The Shadow of the Photographer.



GP Trainee photograph

GP Trainee photograph


Sessions 3&4 Reflective writing masterclass

Writing workshop designed to illustrate the value of reflective writing and give trainees practical advice and techniques to improve the quality of log entries in their eportfolios.

Led by Emma Scattergood, professional writer and senior lecturer in School of Journalism, English and Communication, Bournemouth University. Emma has over 20 years of professional experience as a magazine journalist and author. As a journalist, she started her career at Reuters, but soon moved to specialise in magazines and has since worked for most of the major publishing houses and published seven books on a range of topics.


Session 5: Paintings, textiles and objects

Exploring health and professional development through multi media art.

Led by Dr Catherine Lamont-Robinson, curator and creative director of www.outofourheads.net, a creative arts website developed by Bristol University Medical School. Catherine’s career started in Fine Arts and she is now a lecturer in the school of Social and Community Medicine at Bristol University. She has experience in teaching doctors about the value of Arts in health, as well as being involved in an ‘arts on prescription’ creative interventions for patient groups.



Bournemouth and Poole College Clocktower (Tabitha Smith 2015)

Venue: Will vary – please check your emails

Time: 9.30-12.30


22 February 2017

22 March 2017

26 April 2017

24 May 2017

28 June 2017

26 July 2017


Book club: Suggested reading includes:

Non fiction

It’s All in Your Head – True stories of imaginary illness (2016), Suzanne O’Sullivan, Winner of Wellcome Book prize, 2016

The Outrun (2016), Amy Liptrot, Nominated for Wellcome Book prize, 2016

The Last Act of Love (2016), Cathy Rentzenbrink (2016), Nominated for Wellcome Book prize, 2016

The Iceberg (2015), Marion Coutts, Winner of Wellcome Book prize, 2015

Being Mortal – Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End (2015), Atul Gawande

Do No Harm: Stories of life, death and brain surgery (2014). Henry Marsh

Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that heal (2006). Rachel Remen

Complications. A Surgeons notes on an imperfect science (2002). Atul Gawande.



Me Before You (2012) Jojo Moyes

The Memory Book (2014). Rowan Coleman


Interesting articles

Literature about medicine may be all that can save us. April 2016.

Could studying the arts provide the cultural shift medics need to deal better with patients and to avoid scandals such as the one at Mid Staffs? November 2013.