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In Pursuit of Time: An Inquiry into Kairos and Reflection in Medical Practice and Health Professions Education

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Abstract

‘Taking time’ to reflect on experience is important in health professions education and medical practice; however, time is increasingly becoming scarce, while tasks multiply and calendars dictate the pace of our day. On the one hand, the day is divided into sections that are measured, scheduled, and micromanaged. On the other hand, when loved ones ask how our day was, we do not list agenda items as if we are calendars ourselves; instead, we tell stories about how we are invested in our roles at work. What does taking time to reflect mean in this hectic day and age? In this chapter, we introduce the Greek notions of kairos, chronos, and scholê to explore taking time to think. Contemplation for early Greek thinkers was never seen as a task or activity, but precisely the opposite, as freedom from tasks to think. Then, with Walter Benjamin’s work on time, we explore why kairos is important to question an instrumental view of reflection. Generally, we argue that reflection without preconceived goals in mind is valuable to reinvigorate well-established ideas that come down to us as unquestioned heritage, and that taking time is of importance for this process.

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Correspondence to Sven Peter Charlotte Schaepkens .

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Schaepkens, S.P.C., Coccia, C.Q.H. (2022). In Pursuit of Time: An Inquiry into Kairos and Reflection in Medical Practice and Health Professions Education. In: Brown, M.E.L., Veen, M., Finn, G.M. (eds) Applied Philosophy for Health Professions Education. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-1512-3_21

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