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Degree Programs

What Is a Medical Humanities Degree and What Can You Do with It?

Earning a medical humanities degree from Saint Leo University can help you pursue a career in nursing like the male nurse pictured here

Saint Leo University is proud to announce that, beginning this fall, the university will be offering students the opportunity to earn another type of bachelor’s degree – a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Medical Humanities.

If you’ve never heard of this before, you may be wondering exactly what this type of degree is, as well as what careers it prepares you to hold. Let’s start with what it is.

What is a Medical Humanities Degree?

According to an introduction published by the journal, the Australian Family Physician, medical humanities is defined as “a broad area of study and practice encompassing all nontechnical or ‘human’ aspects of medicine.”

In simple terms, this means that medical humanities is not so much the study of various illnesses and

diseases themselves, but more so how these medical conditions impact the individuals who are diagnosed with them, their families, their communities, and society as a whole.

This introduction goes on to explain that this area of study has three main goals:

  • Studying the human aspects of medicine using traditional disciplines such as history, philosophy, sociology, and literature;
  • Learning more about how medicine and creative arts intersect; and
  • Using this information to offer healthcare providers and personnel valuable training designed to improve both their insightfulness and compassion.

Why the Field of Medical Humanities Is So Important

Certainly, finding an effective treatment remedy for a patient’s particular medical condition is of utmost importance. In some cases, their lives depend on it.

However, the study of medical humanities provides other benefits as well. These include:

  • Fostering competence in physical and mental healthcare providers, support staff, and office personnel who work directly and indirectly with patients and their families;
  • Developing a better understanding of your own assumptions and perspectives, further broadening them so you can treat patients or clients with different assumptions and perspectives without judgment; and
  • Helping practitioners develop the soft skills necessary to create stronger doctor-patient relationships, which research has found increases the patient’s engagement in his or her personal health treatment regimen.

Possible Career Tracks for Medical Humanity Majors

What types of careers does a BA in Medical Humanities prepare you for? For starters, any career within the medical field could ultimately be a good fit for someone with this degree.

While you’ll still need to attend graduate school to spend your days working as a physician, dentist, physician assistant, or nurse, earning your undergraduate degree in medical humanities gives you the foundation you need to excel in these types of positions.

A BA in Medical Humanities also prepares you for a variety of non-medical healthcare roles. Among them are social work, pharmacy, physical or occupational therapy, and even speech therapy.

Essentially, any profession that was created to help someone who is struggling with a physical or mental health condition can benefit from medical humanity courses.

Where Medical Humanities Majors Work

Because the medical field is so broad, you can find graduates with a medical humanities degree in a variety of settings. A few of the most obvious are hospitals, surgical clinics, and pharmacies.

Yet, you’ll also find medical humanities degree earners working in public health departments or serving their communities as health educators. In reality, any healthcare practice, rehabilitation program, or health-related organization or agency can benefit from employing a medical humanities major.

Individuals with a BA in Medical Humanities may also choose to take more of a research role and spend their careers in labs or universities, helping the entire world learn even more about how health and wellness impacts individuals, communities, and societies.

Saint Leo’s Medical Humanities Degree Program

When you obtain your BA in Medical Humanities degree from Saint Leo University, you have two track options. The first is a pre-medical track, which prepares graduates to apply for medical school and/or other professional schools designed to give them the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to thrive within the healthcare field in positions such as physician, dentist, physician assistant, and nurse.

The second track option is the health and humanities track. This track is perfect for students who are interested in pursuing graduate programs related to psychology, medical social work, public health policy, and medical illustration. Because this track is only 18 credit hours, students also have the ability to choose a biology, chemistry, or other minor to further enhance their academic goals.

Whether you choose the pre-medical track or the health and humanities track, Saint Leo’s BA in Medical Humanities has you covered.

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