Background: We analyzed book reports written by medical students on 1) Bulgakov’s A Young Doctor’s Notebook and 2) Zweig’s The Right to Heresy: Castellio against Calvin.

Methods: About 50 medical students were asked to read the above books. In the book reports, the following questions were included: For 1) Do patients have confidence in medical doctors? What is needed to gain a patient’s trust? Can a doctor’s good will and efforts make patients trust their doctor? Would it be helpful for a doctor to write a narrative of his or her own experiences to obtain patients’ trust? For 2) Should the medical doctor engage in wide variety of activities or focus on the medical profession? Would you risk your life for your convictions? Why is tolerance by medical doctors currently needed?

Results: Of the students, 50% thought that patients do not have confidence in their medical doctors, while 34% answered that patients trust doctors; 46% answered that competence is needed for a doctor to be trusted by patients, 84% stated that good will and efforts will make patients trust their doctor, and 60% replied that it would be useful for a doctor to write a narrative of own experiences to obtain patients’ trust. Eighty-four percent thought that it is desirable for medical doctors to participate in a wide variety of activities, and 60% answered that they would risk their life for their convictions.

Discussion: Our findings regarding students’ perceptions indicate that these readings are good teaching materials for medical humanities.

Keywords:         Books; Medicine in Literature; Writing; Students, Medical; Physicians; Humans

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