Visual thinking strategy (VTS) and art production to improve training and prevent burnout among healthcare students: protocol of a field trial

  • Vincenza Ferrara
  • Valeria D'Egidio Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica
  • Federica Miceli
  • Giuseppe La Torre
  • Fabrizio Consorti
Keywords: Visual Thinking Strategies, healthcare students, burnout, life-skills


Background: During university many healthcare students face high stress that can lead to depressive symptoms, worst academic outcomes and socio-relational difficulties. It is necessary to prevent distress and improve quality of life among students teaching them skills to build resilience as observational capacities, critical thinking, work in team and empathy.

Methods: The present work describes the protocol of a field trial that contemplates to improve visual literacy skills, decrease stress, promote active listening and work in-group among medical students. The intervention group will be involved in art sessions according to the visual thinking strategies (VTS) method while the control group will not take part in art activities.

Scores about stress level (SL), empathy (EM), and skills related to VST (SKvts) will be measured. Questionnaires will be handed out to both groups at the beginning and at the end of the study. Univariate analysis, spearman correlation and multivariate analysis will be applied to analyze the outcome scores among the intervention and control groups.

Conclusion: The use of art in medical training is widespread worldwide, but it is an innovation in the Italian university medical curricula. It is fundamental to teach observational skills, improve psychosocial abilities and lower stress in order to educate professional and resilient future healthcare workers.