SBV Journal of Basic, Clinical and Applied Health Science
Volume 6 | Issue 1 | Year 2023

Role of Cinema in Facilitating the Delivery of Medical Education

Astha Das

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Corresponding Author: Astha Das, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, Phone: +91 8918989551, e-mail:

How to cite this article: Das A. Role of Cinema in Facilitating the Delivery of Medical Education. J Basic Clin Appl Health Sci 2023;6(1):25–27.

Source of support: Nil

Conflict of interest: None

Received on: 27 June 2022; Accepted on: 01 August 2022; Published on: 31 December 2022


Over a period of years, there are rising concerns about how to teach the psychosocial and ethical aspects of medicine. Therefore, the aim of the study is the use of the cinema in the medical teaching, which acts as an effective tool and technique in teaching the various aspects of the medicine. The new term is known as “cinemeducation,” which is used at all the levels of the medical curriculum including the undergraduate and postgraduate studies, and also in the newly added curriculum, attitude, ethics, communication (AETCOM) module. “Cinemeducation” provides the opportunity for all the medical students, to learn all the ethical and psychosocial subjects which are related to the medicine by observing and reflection on the films.

Keywords: Cinema, Medical education, Medical students.


Over a period of years, soft skills in medical education, such as communication skills, professionalism, and ethics, are often neglected and remained difficult to teach. However, as we are emerging into the new era of the various methods of teaching technique, we introduce ourselves to evidence-based learning, rather than opinion-based teaching. So, using movies in medical education has a great impact and favors a positive attitude in the field of education.1 Mostly, the use of the cinema was first introduced by the psychiatry department of residency education. So, using this cinema in medical education is given the term known as “Cinemeducation,” where we can use the movie clippings, to help to teach the students regarding every aspect of the medical field.

The Medical Council of India introduced the revised curriculum as “Competency-based medical education” (CBME) in the year 2018. It has proposed to use the new technologies for the assessment of clinical skills. So, using cinema in the education period plays a vital role. Teachers and professors can easily access the movie sites such as IMDb, YouTube, for taking the movie clippings as examples. The main goal is to engage the medical students in the clinical way of learning rather than the traditional way.


Cinema is enjoyable and a unique narrative approach to medical education. Mainly, it helps in teaching the humanities. As in the medical field, people’s emotions, communication skills, play an important role in learning behaviors and attitude. So, using the movie clips in medical education will be surely effective in its purpose.1 As, cinema is the audiovisual display, it relates to the various human experiences, promotes the reflective attitudes, and links to the learning experiences. As we all know, life stories and narratives, enhance our emotions and produce a deep impact on the foundations of conveying concepts.

Cinema is mainly useful in teaching as it is evocative, familiar, non-threatening, for both students and the teachers. The term “Cinemeducation” was introduced long ago in the history. It was first used to refer to the movies for understanding the psychological aspects of medicine. Further, the use of the cinema started to engage the learners to be able to understand the constructivist learning theory, where the students actively build concepts on the ideas upon the preexisting foundations.1,2

There are a few guidelines to conduct the “cinemeducation” series; first of all, the subject area and the competencies must be decided, then the content and the available information must be reviewed and critical reviews must be provided about the given topic. The faculties have to select the referable film, and clippings, mainly in the social, humanities, and ethics arenas. It is important to gather all the students in a big hall/auditorium and specify the specific learning objectives of the session.3 A small group discussion, presentation, and the plenary session of the faculty are effective. Then, receive feedbacks from the students about the session and other infrastructure arrangements.3,4

Cinema can be used at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. As the “cinemeducation” promotes positive attitudes to psychiatry, and engages the students in end-of-life issues conversations.3 In today’s medical field, communication skills, humanities, professionalism are the aspects that we should focus on. So, instead of citing examples from the book, we should provide the students with the audiovisual mode to reflect on the real-life experience, and it expands the medical platform too. The “cinemeducation” addresses the focus areas that deal with the teaching–learning method, which comprises the informative section and highlights how the medical humanities need not employ the traditional pedagogical methods as seminars.2 The “cinemeducation” also enlightens the use of the “role play” and the making of the “short films,” they elucidate their usefulness in learning the communication skills and make the students actively participate in instructional methods, which were rarely used in India, but it is considered now as one of the rational ways of teachings.

“Cinemeducation” is used in various countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Thailand, India, Ireland, and Saudi Arabia to teach the medical students. In India, Seth GS Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, has formed faculty movie clubs, and other medical colleges in India such as PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and the Yenepoya University of Mangalore, Mangaluru, Karnataka, are teaching medical ethics/bioethics and other medical humanities using “cinemeducation.”5 Even the Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, Belagavi, has used “cinemeducation” technique to teach “Professionalism and Ethics” to the prefinal MBBS students using movie clips, and cites a good example in the evolution of the clinical skills in the learners.

The AETCOM and Cinema

The Medical Council of India has formed a new curriculum known as the CBME curriculum, which mainly attributes the AETCOM Module, which inculcates AETCOM skills among the medical graduates. The AETCOM encompasses the hidden curriculum, which is in need to develop in today’s clinical skills, such as weariness, strong distrust of emotions, and failure of communication. Thus, an Indian medical graduate has core competencies such as communicatory professional, leadership, professionalism, and a lifelong learner.2

The main domain of teaching is the emphasis on ethics, an appropriate opportunity for experiential learning and reflection on the domains of attitude and communication. The entire concept of this module lies in the basic principles that change a person’s attitude and their behavior. The cognitive components of attitude play a more important role and fundamental and are more closely linked to the basic values.4 The behavioral attitudes and good leadership are the main components of cognitive attitudes. Moreover, the ethical dimension plays a key role in behavioral evolution with the building block of great communication, which is a unique feeling, and of value. The effort of implementing this new vista in the medical curriculum is to make it more comprehensive and relevant to the health needs of society.

So, the use of cinema in teaching the AETCOM module plays a vital role. Cinema gives a coherent picture of how communication and attitude can be integrated. It also inspires many medical students and teachers to make the subject more consequential and meaningful.

Movies give the visual form of day-to-day real-life incidents, which gives a deep-rooted impact on the mind of the students. Further, they can relate to such incidents while handling the clinical cases in their own real life.5 A complete medical education not only fulfills the criteria of mastering the bookish knowledge. Rather to be a good clinician, one has to be a good learner with great communication skills and professional behavior and attitude.2 That is why the AETCOM module can be fully utilized by the students, using the cinema and other informative tools, which gives a new direction to the future medical era.

The choice of the film can be new or old, but it must be non-threatening, and student-friendly. For ages, there are many films and series, which are really a good example for using in such cases. A range of movies can be explored on IMDb, such as “The doctor” (1991), “Horizon” (1964), “The hospital” (1971). There are other new series released in these years as “doctor romantic,” “the good doctor,” “doctor strange,” “sanjeevani” (Hindi). So, the main motto of using these movies is to depict the real-life issues in the clinical background, so as to create a movement in the mind of the students to develop the skills of a good clinician.

Pros and Cons of “Cinemeducation”

By far, the use of movies in the education system is to engage the learners; however, there are many more reasons why movies are more convenient than traditional teaching. So, the instructor must acknowledge the effective learning is based on the proper planning to enhance and uplifts the student experience at any level. Nonetheless, the use of movies has both pros and cons in education. Movies provide a clearer perception of experience or an era. Rather than theoretical studies in the classroom, the students can visualize a case scenario and can relate to the real action in the treatment process.

Movies basically help to arouse interest in students and can be used for pre-teaching purpose.6 As of now it is very common for students seek help from online platforms to learn something new. For example, topics of medical ethics do not attract some learners, so to improve their interests we can use the movies as a learning tool.

Movies provide teachable moments. Teachers can impart more knowledge, whereas the textbook simply confines the learners to the syllabus without expanding their knowledge of the important ideas through the use of films, “The good doctor,” “Hospital playlist” and many more, various issues of the medical field such as communication, medical ethics, patient–doctor relationships can be explained.6

Using a movie in the classroom as a learning aid can turn into a demerit if it is too long, such movies take a longer time to complete, consequently, there must be much wastage of time, and irregular points of schedule to accommodate the movie session.6 Some movies are not created for education, they are made only for entertainment. So, the instructor has to choose the specific parts of the movie, which can be used for education purpose, but the process becomes tedious and time-wasting. If the clips are incoherent, the essence of using the movie is comprehended.

Movies can become a source of conflict sometimes, as the various clips can be perceived from a different point of view by different students.6 So, movies do not create a positive impact on the learners that finally does not approve of the use of cinema in the classroom for teaching. Some movies are inaccurate in their content, there might be exaggeration or showing of the wrong procedure which hinders the learning process.


“Cinemeducation” is one of the effective methods of imparting empathy and other relational skills. This technique, especially helps in teaching the interdisciplinary topics related to professionalism and medico-ethical topics. Though this technique is rarely in use in various countries, but if all health professional institutions can rely on “cinemeducation,” then there will be an enhancement in the learning experience of their undergraduate and postgraduate medicos, today and tomorrow.


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3. Lumlertgul N, Kijpaisalratana N, Pityaratstian N, Wangsaturaka D. Cinemeducation: A pilot student project using movies to help students learn medical professionalism. Med Teach 2009;31:e327–e32. DOI: 10.1080/01421590802637941.

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6. Everymovie. Guest editorial: Pros and cons of using movie in education; 2019. Available at: Accessed on: 29 July 2022.

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