Semmelweis University, Faculty of Medicine

Name of the managing institute (and any contributing institutes):

Institute of Behavioural Sciences

Name of the subject:



Credit value:

Number of lessons per week:        lecture:                practical course:          seminar: 2 (x14)

Subject type:      compulsory course       elective course         optional course

Academic year: 2020/2021-II. (Spring semester)
Subject code:

(In case of a new subject, it is filled by the Dean’s Office, after approval)

Name of the course leader: Dr. László NEMES

His/her workplace, phone number: Semmelweis University, Institute of Behavioural Sciences, Dept. of Bioethics,, +36705220615

Position: senior lecturer

Date and registration number of their habilitation:


Objectives of the subject, its place in the medical curriculum:  

Providing tools to acquire practical knowledge, and skills in the medical humanities for a reflective practice, i. e. to improve the cultural skills and sensitivity necessary for a more effective clinical practice and more humane doctor-patient relationship by using the methods and approaches of the humanities as applied to medicine.


Place where the subject is taught (address of the auditorium, seminar room, etc.):

seminar room


Successful completion of the subject results in the acquisition of the following competencies:

Basic knowledge on the meaning, areas, topics, approaches, methods and theories of the medical humanities; improvement of narrative and cultural competences; openness to a reflective practice


Course prerequisites:



Number of students required for the course (minimum, maximum) and method of selecting students:

minimum 12, maximum 24

How to apply for the course:




Detailed curriculum:

1. Medical humanities: concept, history and role (László Nemes)

2. Medical education, socialization, professionalism, doctor-patient relationship (László Nemes)

3. The historical/cultural embeddedness of medicine: representations and metaphors (László Nemes)

4. Religion, spirituality, philosophy, cross-cultural experience, and medicine (László Nemes)

5. Illness narrative, pathography, narrative medicine (László Nemes)

6. Illness as phenomenological, existential experience (László Nemes)

7. Physician-writers, reflective practice (László Nemes)

8. Representations of mental and neurological diseases (László Nemes)

9. Cultural representations of aging, death and sexuality (László Nemes)

10. Gender roles in medicine (László Nemes)

11. Sickness and healing in visual arts (László Nemes)

12. Sickness and healing in digital humanities (László Nemes)

13. Bioethics and the medical humanities (László Nemes)

14. Summary of the course (László Nemes)


Other subjects concerning the border issues of the given subject (both compulsory and optional courses!). Possible overlaps of themes:


(partly) bioethics, medical anthropology, medical communication


Special study work required to successfully complete the course:

(E.g. field exercises, medical case analysis, test preparation, etc.)


selecting a topic and making a presentation on it

Requirements for participation in classes and the possibility to make up for absences:


replacement: reading the analyzed texts


Methods to assess knowledge acquisition during term time:

(E.g. homework, reports, mid-term test, end-term test, etc., the possibility of replacement and improvement of test results)


student presentations of chosen topics


Requirements for signature:


at least 10 weekly classes actively attended


Type of examination:


based on practice during the semester


Requirements of the examination:

(In case of a theoretical examination, please provide the topic list; in case of a practical exam, specify the topics and the method of the exam)


Written short essay sent via email

Short summary of a topic chosen from the core readings in the form of an essay (5-6 pages)


Method and type of evaluation:

(Method of calculating the final mark based on the theoretical and practical examination. How the mid-term test results are taken into account in the final mark.)


By a 5-point grading scale:


Excellent: few absence, excellent practice, active participation, good presentation and essay

Good: few absence, good practice, active participation, good presentation and essay

Satisfactory: some absences, active participation, acceptable presentation and essay

Unsatisfactory: many absenses, some activity, low quality presentation and essay

Insufficient: too many absenses, not enough activity, low quality presentation and essay


50% presence and activity at the classes, short presentation; 50% essay



How to register for the examination?:




Possibilities for exam retake:


by consultation with the course leader


Printed, electronic and online notes, textbooks, guides and literature (URL address for online material) to aid the acquisition of the material:


Basic source, core reading:


T. R. Cole, N. S. Carlin, R. A. Carson: Medical Humanities: An Introduction. Cambridge UP,



Recommended readings:


M. Evans, I. G. Finlay (eds.): Medical Humanities. BMJ Books, 2001

V. Bates, A. Bleakley, S. Goodman (eds.): Medicine, Health and the Arts: Approaches to the

Medical Humanities. Routledge, 2015

H. Carel: Illness. Routledge, 2018

S. Sontag: Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors. Penguin Classics, 2009

R. Charon: Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness. Oxford UP, 2006

R. Charon, M. M. Montello (eds.): Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics.

Routledge, 2002

D. Sulmasy: The Rebirth of the Clinic: An Introduction to Spirituality in Health Care.

Georgetown UP, 2006




Signature of the habilitated instructor (course leader) who announced the subject:


Signature of the Director of the Managing Institute:


Hand-in date:




Opinion of the competent committee(s):


Comments of the Dean’s Office:



Dean’s signature: