Last year Columbia University launched the first graduate program in Narrative Medicine, noting that "our modern medical system has all but forgotten the critical importance of stories: stories of suffering, stories of healing, stories of the relationships that tie patients to their clinicians."
In an earlier Journal of the American Medical Association article, Dr. Rita Charon, founder of the new program, describes Narrative Medicine like this: "Along with scientific ability, physicians need the ability to listen to the narratives of the patient, grasp and honour their meanings, and be moved to act on the patient's behalf."
The new masters program -- targeted to doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists and other health professionals -- includes study of literature, reflective writing and interpretation of illness narratives with the goal of better listening to, and understanding, patient stories.
I think "disability" could be substituted for the word "illness."
Here's where you come in.
If you're a parent:
1. Describe the best experience you had with a doctor, nurse, therapist or other health professional working with your child.
2. What did the professional do (or not do) to make this a positive, empowering experience?
3. What could other professionals learn from this to improve care?
If you're a professional:
1. Describe the best experience you had with the parent of a child you were working with.
2. What did the parent do (or not do) that supported you in providing the best care?
3. What could other parents learn from this?
I can't wait to hear your answers and would love to share some in the December print issue of BLOOM. Let us know where you're writing from. Thanks!