Healthcare, management, and the humanities

A recent commentary by Nathan Gerard argues that the humanities can offer new ways of understanding and doing research, teaching, and scholarship in the field of healthcare management. The two fields intersect in the desire to know, to understand, something about the human experience. The paper focuses on three areas in particular: “lived experiences of management”, the “tyranny of metrics”, and “confronting rather than avoiding anxiety”. The paper’s aim is to “encourage interdisciplinary dialogue”. Gains made through such engagement could include “substantiating critical healthcare management scholarship, collaborating with humanities educators to design novel curricula, proposing alternatives to unduly circumscribed performance targets and competency assessments, creating case studies of formative experiences of practicing healthcare managers, and advancing guidelines for better managing anxiety and its concomitant stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue in healthcare organizations”. Gerard’s comments are specific to the field of healthcare management, but they can also challenge us to think differently about the practices of management, research, and teaching more broadly – how can we engage with disciplines such as literature, philosophy, poetry, and the arts and why should we?