Culture, ‘coma’ and the media online course proves a big success with healthcare professionals and trainee journalists, running with 70 learners
13 Awst 2020
Professor Jenny Kitzinger from the School of Journalism, Media and Culture ran this free online course aimed at healthcare professionals, journalists and anyone interested in the representation of the vegetative state in the media.
We are delighted that this course gained so much interest, particularly as it was developed at a challenging time, with professionals working hard to meet the challenges of establishing new ways of working in light of Covid-19. 70 people started the course, from many countries, including Brazil, the USA, Peru and Portugal.
The course explored how (un)consciousness, coma and the vegetative state are used in the media, and looked at ethical debates about portrayal of patients and reporting of ‘miracle’ recoveries, court cases and scientific breakthroughs.
Topics included how patients are typically portrayed in the media, diagnosis and prognosis - including the impact of ‘awakenings’ in film, and how recovery is reported in the news. The course also explored how law and science are framed, particularly landmark ‘right-to-die’ cases and new brain scanning techniques.
Attendees came from a range of backgrounds, with approximately 40% from Higher Education (both students and academics) and 40% from the healthcare profession, and also included some people with personal experience of having a loved one in a vegetative state. This led to some thoughtful engagement and discussion. It was a great opportunity for students to engage with and draw on the experiences of healthcare workers and a ‘level’ playing field for discussion between healthcare users and healthcare providers. The diversity of professional backgrounds (e.g. law, nursing, ethics) led to interesting perspectives in the group chats.
Feedback from attendees included
Course leader, Professor Jenny Kitzinger, School of Journalism, Media and Culture, commented:
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