It’s been said that according to TV, there are only two interesting professions: law enforcement and medicine. Police dramas, mysteries, procedurals, and courtroom shows are nearly limitless. On the other hand, medical shows ranging from melodrama to comedy to documentary are easy to come by. The commercial success and wide range of even fictional stories about medicine points to an important discussion about the intersection of patient care and the humanities. Continue Reading “Thursday Review: “Medical Humanities: Some Uses and Problems””→
Story-in-Place is a workshop to give healthcare providers a forum tell their stories during the COVID-19 crisis. The session will be online on April 11, 2020 at 2pm Pacific.Registration is free.
We’re living through a crisis and a profound shared experience. Healthcare providers and related fields are on the front lines. One of the ways that our connected world is dealing with the COVID-19 emergency is by seeking out, telling, and sharing stories.
If you’re a healthcare provider or work in a healthcare-adjacent profession, please join us. Maybe you want a space to share your story, or maybe you want a way to help process what’s going on.
In this workshop, we’ll briefly go over some fundamental elements of storytelling. Everyone will have a chance to reflect on their own stories and experiences from recent weeks. Those who would like to are invited to work through their own narratives with support from the other participants.
In medicine, just like in other disciplines, there is a distinction between “art” and “science”. A line is drawn between the humanistic and data, between subjective and objective, between mind and body, and what is personal and what is verifiable.
The bulk of my work is wrapped up in teaching how stories can be useful in clinical situations. I believe that stories and storytelling make life better and more meaningful. I tend, though, to downplay narrative work that can’t explicitly help doctors, nurses, and administrators serve patients more effectively. I suppose that comes from a need to show healthcare professionals the value of medical humanities.
The way that Dr. Jurate A. Sakalys writes about the need to simply let patients talk, though, is a good challenge for me. Writing in the Journal of Holistic Nursing, Sakalys brings up several themes which have come up in the context of patient-provider communication. The focus of the article, though, is on why those narratives are healthy for the patient.
The Examined Life Conference is a gathering for the medical humanities hosted by The University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine. The conference is focused mainly on the intersection of writing and medicine, and is cross-pollinated with the literary chops of organizations like The Iowa Writers’ Workshop and The Iowa Review.
Dr. David Thoele, the Director of Narrative Medicine at Advocate Children’s Hospital, has been going for years. He introduced me to the conference, and convinced me to submit a workshop.