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Narrative Medicine at UNM IRCME Symposium March 16, 2007 Ellen M. Cosgrove, MD FACP Senior Associate Dean, Education University of New Mexico.

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Presentation on theme: "Narrative Medicine at UNM IRCME Symposium March 16, 2007 Ellen M. Cosgrove, MD FACP Senior Associate Dean, Education University of New Mexico."— Presentation transcript:

1 Narrative Medicine at UNM IRCME Symposium March 16, 2007 Ellen M. Cosgrove, MD FACP Senior Associate Dean, Education University of New Mexico

2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: the people who did this work Julie Reichert Directs UNM’s Narrative Medicine program author, independent filmmaker Summers Kalishman, PhD Directs the Office of Program Evaluation Brian Solan, MD Directs the summer preceptorship

3 Objectives Describe Narrative Medicine Link Narrative Medicine to Professionalism Share UNM’s Narrative Medicine results Consider JAPANESE cultural traditions & narrative medicine

4 Is this a good use of your time? What Japanese cultural traditions and literary forms encourage reflection? What do YOU want to learn from this lecture?

5 Dedication Kimitaka Kaga, MD PhD TANKA of the DYING

6 What is Narrative Medicine? International movement to include reflective reading and writing in physician practice Poetry, stories, memoirs written by doctors, other health care professionals, students and patients

7 REFLECTION a "crucial process in the transforming of experience into knowledge, skills and attitudes" Robertson, K. Reflection in professional practice and education, Australian Family Physician, 2005; 34(9), pp a key step in both life-long learning and the development of professionalism in practice. Novack DM et al. Calibrating the Physician: Personal Awareness and Effective Patient Care. JAMA. 1997; 278:

8 Narrative Medicine provides a forum for thoughtful self-reflection Improves patient-centered care Yamada, S.et al. Family narratives, culture, and patient-centered medicine, Medical Student Education, 2003; 35(4), pp reduces practitioner stress Brady, DWet al. "What's important to you?": The use of narratives to promote self-reflection and to understand the experiences of medical residents, Annals of Internal Medicine, 2002; 137(3), pp

9 Narrative Medicine Skills Observation active listening ability to tell the patient’s story Verghese A. The physician as storyteller. Ann Intern Med 2001;135:

10 Narrative Medicine & empathy students practice taking the view of another person (a patient, family member, other healthcare providers) they see the patient as a person within a family, community, and culture Halpern J. From detached concern to empathy: humanizing medical practice. New York: Oxford University Press, Das Gupta S & Charon R. Personal Illness Narratives: Using Reflective Writing to Teach Empathy. Acad Med. 2004;79:351–356.

11 Narrative Medicine & PIE UNM medical students between their first and second years spend nine summer weeks living & working in a rural clinical practice “Practical Immersion Experience (PIE)” Self-selected students write reflectively once a week to volunteer physician mentors on campus in place of one H&P Mentors respond in kind via

12 Narrative Medicine does not make medical students into "writers," but makes them better doctors supporting their skills of observation encouraging their reflection in a clinical context showsibg the students that their thoughts, feelings, and questions are heard hrough the responses from the mentors.

13 Students say this writing helped them to: perceive their clinical work in a thoughtful way become more observant and analytical look for recurrent patterns respond better to patients.

14 Content analysis Julie Reichert read one work by each student. Major themes: Cultural challenges Ethical issues: truth telling Importance of active listening

15 Initiation: first-time experiences Many of the students' stories addressed first-time experiences – witnessing birth and impending death, trying hands-on procedures

16 Identity The students grappled with who they were becoming as they began to take on the role of being a physician A student's pain as he meditates on how his new medical knowledge and focus on becoming a doctor is leading him away from his working-class family and his roots.

17 Awe Many students marveled at the sheer beauty of patients and of the practice of medicine: The "exhaustion filled with love" of a 74- year old father taking care of a 45-year-old developmentally disabled daughter

18 Frustration and disillusion Some students wrote about problems with preceptors, the limits of medicine, and other difficult topics. Noticing the contrast in a preceptor's negative attitude in treating a suicide survivor ("voluntarily" ill) with attitude in caring for an older, dying patient Feeling helpless and angry regarding an aging couple’s losing their independence

19 Questioning Sometimes, students’ experience evoked unexpected thoughts and questions about medical practice. Observing an interaction between mother/child and physician, questioning how much of medical education should be science, and how much humanities The paradox of finding sick children interesting and well babies boring

20 Values Students questioned themselves when suddenly faced with difficult ethical situations Feeling ethically challenged in the face of a dying patient who refuses care

21 Community: Students observed the often unfamiliar communities Being unexpectedly welcomed to a special dinner in the Zuni Pueblo community Observing the continuity of care that the preceptor physician has provided over the many years of practice Appreciating the qualities of the people living in a rural community after observing the stoicism and courage of a disabled member of that community

22 Faculty comments: responding to student's reflective writing makes the mentor more reflective Helps keep me in touch with students at the early stage of training I got a much better insight into how students grow over time. It has made me look closer at my own behavior as a teacher, mentor and clinician.

23 Faculty comments I was very unaware that the student would be exposed to taking short cuts in their workup and not even know that they were doing same. I feel more involved in the educational process and appreciate the struggles of the contemporary student.

24 RESULTS: “time well spent” Students and mentors overwhelmingly positive Most mentors return Explosion of student interest: From a class of 75 students: 9 took Narrative Medicine track in in in 2007

25 CONCLUSION: A Narrative Medicine experience can be: simple to set up, requires a very modest investment in student and faculty time rewards the effort with increased reflection and satisfaction for both students and faculty.


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