Quantifying how much writing can help medical students isn't easy or an exact science; but Candace Kim, an MD-PhD student at Stanford who works with Braitman, is making progress towards this goal. She asks students to rank their distress from low "0" to maximum distress "7" using the Mayo Medical Student Well-Being Index , a measure that was co-developed by Tait Shanafelt , MD, Stanford's chief wellness officer.
Data from three workshops spanning suggest the workshops were helpful. One month after the workshop, students still reported feeling less distress, but the benefit had waned. This is especially true today as the coronavirus pandemic poses new and potentially life-threatening challenges for health care workers. It's open to health care workers and their loved ones, and requires no writing experience or Stanford affiliation.
In this and other writing courses, students learn to be vulnerable, she said. Many rediscover what drew them to medicine in the first place, by sharing their stories, essays and other creative work. More than 1, doctors, trauma nurses, respiratory therapists and other health care workers and their loved ones have participated in the Writing Medicine course.
On Saturday mornings, they come together online to "pause, reflect, be creative and share," Braitman said. Some members of this "virtual medical family" -- who hail from around the globe -- have already published their work. Others write purely for themselves, as a way to help process their experience.
Helping health care professionals express and communicate their feelings won't solve the problem of physician burnout, Braitman explained. But, she said, it is essential "in making sure our healers are healthy enough to heal the rest of us. They write large, and my work involves helping them edit down to their key concerns. Other patients feel like stoic minimalists.
They can seem like difficult storytellers, bearing illness with a tough resolve, or guarding against a worrisome diagnosis by withholding revelatory details. Healthcare professionals make decisions, including the appropriate use of technology, based on the stories patients share. It makes sense that healthcare providers should be story experts. Thinking more creatively makes us more accepting of challenging stories.
By probing and questioning, we can ensure that the story we are hearing is the one our patients are trying to tell. Story becomes the ground that patients and healthcare professionals travel together: an unpaved road, potholed and puddled, that often lacks signposts, that makes no great rescue promises. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The conversation was moderated by Dr. A beautiful essay by Dr. Laura Vater on the many things a patient carries in the face of a diagnosis.
This Gold Human Insight Webinar, co-hosted with the Alda Center for Communicating Science, focuses on improvisational theater skills, which have a surprising and substantial overlap with skills required of clinicians. Skip to content News Room. Share on facebook Share on Twitter. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.
The four components of the 'writing and health' SSM were: self-exploration through writing; noticing how language and the patient's narrative are controlled in medical settings; a literature search on creative writing and its effects on health; and a visit to hospitalised patients, comparing strengths and weaknesses of medical history-taking with an open-ended conversation where patients used their own language to frame their experience.
Scientists use objective measurement to determine what constitutes illness, and which interventions are effective. Most artists work intuitively from a subjective space, distilling the essence of experience that reflects on the human condition. AS: 'I thought I would be told what to do, as in the rest of medical studies. I didn't realise that I would have to find my own way, following my interests, and that it would be about me.
Finding out about myself is going to make me a better doctor. PN: 'Since becoming a medical student, I don't have time to write, and it is starting to make me feel ill. We are taught to put our own thoughts and emotions aside as if there is no place for them. As a result I lost sight of the human aspect within medicine.
Is there evidence supporting art as a serious component in medical education? Many disciplines jostle for more time on the academic calendar. To deliver appropriate care, we need to develop skills such as empathy that are difficult to teach. My medical education was filled with incidents where patients received quality treatment but were badly treated. ZW: 'Reflective writing requires retreating into the subconscious, allowing for self-awareness,  thus facilitating the inspection of beliefs and values, internal conflicts and dealing with strong emotions.
Writing slows down the whirlwind of medical education and allows students to make sense of their experience on their own terms. Writing a memoir is a form of debriefing and reflection. Taking circumstances that are troubling, whether an interaction with an infuriating colleague or patient, a personal loss or an illness, and giving the feelings a shape through words or other art forms has many tangential and unexpected benefits for both self-care and relationships. I recommend The Artist's Way  to depressed patients; a colleague sends her stressed patients off to art or dance classes.
Art is a way back to ourselves, a way of paying attention to what is going on below the radar of the mind, and a way of managing anxiety and stress. PN: '[Creative writing] may not be part of my assessments, but it increases the quality of my life.
It helps me to cope with my experiences in order to prevent the cynicism and disillusionment found to plague medical students. Author, workshop facilitator and part-time general practitioner dawn. Reid S. The 'medical humanities' in health science education in South Africa. S Afr Med J 2 Garisch D. Eloquent Body. Cape Town: Modjaji Books, In this and other writing courses, students learn to be vulnerable, she said. Many rediscover what drew them to medicine in the first place, by sharing their stories, essays and other creative work.
More than 1, doctors, trauma nurses, respiratory therapists and other health care workers and their loved ones have participated in the Writing Medicine course. On Saturday mornings, they come together online to "pause, reflect, be creative and share," Braitman said. Some members of this "virtual medical family" -- who hail from around the globe -- have already published their work. Others write purely for themselves, as a way to help process their experience. Helping health care professionals express and communicate their feelings won't solve the problem of physician burnout, Braitman explained.
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