Thursday, March 20, 2008

Narrative Medicines: Challenge and Resistance

Narrative Medicines: Challenge and Resistance: "New medical narrative forms are in development exploring new modes of engagement with patients, as the work of Dr Remen and Paul Farmer, MD, suggests. The therapeutic possibilities sketched by Dr Mehl-Madrona need to be explored seriously. Narrative medicine may prove most successful, however, because it offers some physicians a return to what drew them to medicine: something beyond facts, procedures, or logicoscientific knowledge. Such benefits include the restorative experience that Dr Williams found in a narrative-based immersion in the everyday lives of patients: “As I say, often after I have gone into my office harassed by personal perplexities of whatever sort, fatigued physically and mentally, after two hours of intense application to the work, I came out at the finish completely rested (and I mean rested) ready to smile and to laugh as if the day were just starting.” Such daily restoration seems indispensable to a professional labor as difficult, demanding, and dangerous as medicine. The national bean-counters might consider it money well spent if narrative medicine proves effective in promoting, as seems likely among the other benefits that it offers to patients, the long-term wellness and professional restoration of a growing subset of health care professionals receptive to the claims of story."

Listening - and telling - stories is good for both doctors and patients !

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