Narrative medicine: Doctors and the philosophy of stories

Narrative Medicine: Doctors and the philosophy of stories

The Medical Students taking part in this project were interested in the role of narrative in their medical practice. Through philosophical enquiry and creative writing they reflected on their ability to listen and to find meaning in the the stories of others and to tell meaningful stories of their own.

Each student produced a reflective philosophical essay and a portfolio of original writing. The purpose of this creative output was to develop in the students what advocates of narrative medicine describe as narrative competence; the ability to “recognize, absorb, metabolize, interpret, and be moved by the stories of illness”* and to invite the students to asses whether, in their view, this exploration of narrative “fortifies [their] clinical practice””*

* From the mission Statement of the Program in Narrative Medicine, College of Physicians & surgeons. Columbia University

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