gms | German Medical Science

17. Grazer Konferenz – Qualität der Lehre 2013: Teaching Medical Skills

4. - 6. April 2013, Wien, Österreich

A Successful Tradition of Innovation – Anamnesegruppen & Interdisciplinarity


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  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Paul Ferstl - University of Vienna, Department of Comparative LIterature, Vienna, Austria; Medical University of Vienna, Center for Public Health, Vienna, Austria
  • author Laura Pirgie - Medical University of Vienna, Center for Public Health, Vienna, Austria
  • author Klaus Spiess - Medical University of Vienna, Center for Public Health, Vienna, Austria
  • TAs of the Anamnesegruppen Wien

17. Grazer Konferenz – Qualität der Lehre 2013: Teaching medical skills. Wien, Österreich, 04.-06.04.2013. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2013. DocP03

doi: 10.3205/13grako17, urn:nbn:de:0183-13grako172

Veröffentlicht: 29. November 2013

© 2013 Ferstl et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Founded more than 25 years ago, the Anamnesegruppen at the Medical University of Vienna have conducted more than 5000 patient interviews. Each year more than 200 students apply for admission. May 2008 “MUW Teacher of the Month”-Award.

The Anamnesegruppen combine features of the peer group concept, bedside teaching, and international undergraduate journals, blogs, websites, conferences, and workshops for the constant development of their teaching concepts. The interdisciplinarity has been strongly increased in the last years.

The Interdisciplinary Teaching Methodology:

In the patient interview,

we recognize and connect medical symptoms. Medical students supply the medical knowledge to understand the patients’ physical reality of suffering. Thinking professional behavior is mainly measured in effects, medical students often avoid to be moved by sentimentality or sympathy.
we empathize. Students of Psychology focus on the participants’ emotions. Behavior, self-esteem or aggression are important issues. Students often disclose the patients’ emotions however only can do so because they are professionally not obliged to touch the patients’ wounded body.
we observe traditions, rituals & rules. Students of Social Anthropology help us recognize the underlying patterns in human grouping and biopolitics that constitute the doctor-patient communication, accepting various healing archetypes of doctors (also tricksters/comedians).
we tell stories. Storytelling is a basic human mode of information transfer. Whatever we do, storytelling is part of it. Literary studies & Narratology increase our understanding that each doctor-patient interaction is constructed as a narrative plot.
we play roles. Surprise, horror, katharsis, pathos, heroes or non-heroes, a desired taste of death – all needed to interact with a theatrical audience – offer anew perspective on doctor-patient interaction. Students of Acting & Directing enrich the Anamnesegruppen in this regard.

The 3), 4), 5) students work with a general ethics of healing society as a whole and thus beyond medicine’s professional pressure to heal or help the individual patient.

Our approach facilitates an ongoing discussion concerning concepts of the interaction between causality, empathy, cultural patterns, poetics and suspense, and the resulting ethics. In the two semester course students learn to use the perspectives of the other disciplines as a tool – enriching their sensitivity for the many aspects of a patient’s utterances.