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Taking a broader view: exploring the materiality of medicine through cross-disciplinary learning
  1. Claudia Schlegel1,
  2. Roger Kneebone2
  1. 1 Lernbereich Training und Transfer, Berner Bildungszentrum Pflege, Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2 Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Claudia Schlegel, Berner Bildungszentrum Pflege, Bern 3001, Switzerland; claudia.schlegel{at}bzpflege.ch

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Quality, safety and efficiency are essential to healthcare. They depend on skilful ‘doing’, on expertise in materiality. This paper shows how exploration across disciplinary borders may enrich our understanding of the materiality of clinical practice.

We use the term ’materiality' to describe our relationship with the physical world and the substances which constitute every object we encounter.1 Dealing with materiality is part of every healthcare professional’s daily routine. Yet, the role of materiality is often overlooked in the curricula of medicine and science, which focus on factual knowledge and theoretical concepts. In this paper we show how exploration across disciplinary borders can enrich our understanding of this crucial aspect of practice and its role in the acquisition of professional expertise.

To explore this concept, the authors convened a symposium entitled ‘The Art of Performing Science: Analogies across Disciplines’ at Imperial College, London in October 2017. Its aim was to create a platform to explore expertise and encourage new approaches to sharing knowledge. More than 60 clinicians, scientists, artists and performers were invited to demonstrate their work to one another, using materials and tools from their workshops or laboratories. This prompted wide-ranging discussion around similarities and differences. Jewellery designers sat with dentists, nurses and molecular biologists with taxidermists, museum curators with synthetic chemists and surgeons with letter-cutters in wood and stone. It became clear, from these and other groups, …

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Footnotes

  • Contributors CS did substantial contributions to the conception and design of the work; drafted the work and revised it critically for important intellectual content; final approved the version to be published; agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. RK made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; drafted the work and revised it critically for important intellectual content; did the final approval of the version to be published; agrees to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding This study was funded by ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (grant number: ES/M500562/1).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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