In blunt terms, the thesis I argue for here is that poetry is of no use in health care ethics education, because poetry is of no use. Put more circumspectly, insofar as a poem is given to health care students to read as a poem, it will not help achieve the ends of health care ethics education This is a conceptual point, arising from the idea that any genuine engagement of an individual with a poem is unpredictable. My main example is Thom Gunn's apparently very useful poem As Expected. We can't predict what reading (interpretation or understanding) of this health care students will come to if they are allowed to engage with it. To treat the poem as a site at which a predetermined set of useful things may be found is to fail to treat it as a poem.
- Health care ethics education
- use of poetry
- interpreting poetry
- Thom Gunn
- poem - As Expected
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Neil Pickering is a Lecturer in the Bioethics Centre, University of Otago, New Zealand.