Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 305–317

Emotional congruence in learning and health encounters in medicine: addressing an aspect of the hidden curriculum


DOI: 10.1007/s10459-012-9353-4

Cite this article as:
O’Callaghan, A. Adv in Health Sci Educ (2013) 18: 305. doi:10.1007/s10459-012-9353-4


This paper aims to draw attention to and provide insights into an area that is of educational significance for clinical teachers, namely the need to acknowledge and respond appropriately to the emotional context of both learning and health encounters in order to improve the outcomes of both. This need has been highlighted by recent calls for more attention to be paid to the role of emotion within medical education and within health care provision. What is already known about the role of emotion in learner-teacher encounters and in patient-doctor encounters will be used to develop the concept of emotional congruence within these two types of encounter as a challenge to clinical teachers to examine their own practice. The reasons why emotional congruence is not always apparent in the learning environment of the teaching hospital will be discussed using the model of the ‘hidden curriculum’. It will be suggested that explicit strategies to counteract the hidden curriculum in relation to emotion can bring about transformative change in individual practice and the health care environment that has the potential to improve both learning and health outcomes.



Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Palliative Care ServiceAuckland City HospitalAucklandNew Zealand