A growing movement to integrate the arts and humanities into health professions education is afoot. While educators may easily conceive how arts-based teaching can improve clinically relevant skills such as observation and critical thinking, they may not realize it also has the potential to transform learners in myriad ways beyond sharpening these fundamental skills. In this article, the authors review how visual arts–based education can promote clinical excellence by enhancing communication and interpersonal skills, professionalism and humanism, diagnostic acumen and clinical reasoning, and passion for clinical medicine. They describe the most widely studied visual arts–based education method, Visual Thinking Strategies, in detail as an exemplar of how arts-based pedagogy can help health care professionals strive for and ultimately achieve clinical excellence.
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