Difficult and ambiguous conversations are unavoidable in the practice of medicine. Looking at the most ambiguous and categorically difficult conversations helps illuminate why good communication skills are essential in all of them. Writing in BMJ Open, Le et al. give a glimpse into best practices that can be applied to any patient.
Desire and wanting is so important to storytelling that it’s entered popular culture as a kind of parody. The cartoonishly egocentric actor whining, “But what’s my motivation!?” is an extreme form of a very real analytical tool for the humanities. Knowing what a character desires and how they go about getting what they want is the linchpin of any kind of narrative.
Ordinarily, the Thursday Review is commentary about the storytelling aspects of a published article. This week, Dr. Maureen Mavrinac sat down with me to talk about some aspects of shared medical appointments and her article which appeared in Health Affairs.
The authors admit that their article is a first step, but it’s an important first step to take. Writing in BMC Medical Education, Liu and coauthors set out to determine whether biomedical ethics and medical humanities education have any lasting impact on physicians.
Healthcare work requires mastery. Sayantani DasGupta reminds us that the patient isn’t one of the things that can be mastered.
Jones et al. start their article with not-so-subtle nod to academic manifestos trying to rename entire disciplines. A clinician friend of one of the authors listened intently to the reasons behind shifting “medical humanities” to “health humanities”. He then replied, Oh, the things you academics worry about… The authors list the good reasons for shifting […]
As Dr. Arno K. Kumagai confirms in Academic Medicine, there’s a growing interest in the arts and humanities as a part of medical education. This curriculum, though, is still in its infancy. We know this because faculty and students alike don’t quite know what to do with the humanities.
Emotion is another one of the personal elements that is completely unintelligible, unless it’s placed in a narrative context. Emotion is not a biological certainty, or necessarily determined by culture. Emotion is a reaction to a turn in a person’s narrative which prompts them to some kind of response in relation to other people. In Gergen and Gergen’s words, emotion is a
transient social role.
All of us feel we have “priority in self-definition”, in other words, we all get to tell our own story first. These stories are important tools we use to navigate through the world, and when those stories clash with how we fit into others’ stories, even in a medical context, the results can be personally devastating.
At first glance, calling a story a “form of accounting” seems awfully mundane. On the other hand, it’s very descriptive. The accounting for/of the activity is not the actual activity: it’s a kind of summary, a high-level overview of everything which actually occurred. A little like a financial report, everything in this account has a […]