“Traditional medical training, focused on bioscience, is […] failing to provide the human, emotional and practical skills doctors need to deal with everyday tragedy, let alone disasters […] “One comes out not knowing how to deal with real-life situations that don’t necessarily require a written prescription. I believe a number of medical schools around the world might be churning out ‘robots’ with few other human skills.”
“Doctors should learn in a culture that teaches them to recognise and acknowledge human fear, rage, hope, ambivalence, finitude and courage, to be open rather than closed and to flourish in uncertainty rather than the illusion of facts. The arts illuminate this view, not science.”
“80% of diagnoses depend on the patient’s story, and studying poetry or literature can enhance [medical] students’ narrative competence and improve their ability to relate to different cultures and groups.”
“Story-telling has long held a place of prominence in American culture, but only recently has come to be viewed as a having a role in the practice of American medicine … anthropologists, artists, writers, psychologists, physicians and historians … explore the role of stories in medicine and healing.”
“Narrative is gaining recognition in medical schools”.
“Being able to collect better stories from patients helps physicians become better practitioners … Stories are how we get to know each other and how we make sense of our world. When patients read stories about others whose experiences are similar to their own, they know they are not alone.”
“Students may begin their medical school careers riding on a cloud of altruism and goodwill, but it’s not long before the grueling schedule, avalanche of new vocabulary and stubborn patients can take a toll.
To return the student brain to a state of balance, David Watts, MD, UCSF professor of clinical medicine, argues that a healthy dose of literature — poems and stories, specifically — be a core part of the student experience.
It may seem counter-intuitive: Adding more work to an already-loaded academic schedule seems like a recipe for disaster. But in an article titled “Cure for the Common Cold” published last month in The New England Journal of Medicine, Watts says that poems and stories — even just a few a week — can show students the richness of human relationships. In other words, imaginative literature can reignite the compassionate spark that spurred students toward the healing arts in the first place, according to Watts.”
Jack King on Facebook and www.SpyWriter.com
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