MedEdits | Medical School Admissions Consulting

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Narrative Medicine: What is it?

As a doctor, you listen to stories all day long. Knowing how to listen to these patient stories, or histories, takes practice and a unique skills set. I am sure you have all been to doctors who are not good listeners; they pepper you with questions to obtain a detailed history in an order with which they are comfortable. But, so much great information can be obtained by allowing patients to speak without interrupting them. There is now a discipline in medicine focused on listening called narrative medicine. An article this past weekend in the New York Times discussed a new Master of Science program in narrative medicine at Columbia run by Dr. Rita Charon. I think this program would be a great option for the individual who would like to take a gap year, has a special interest in literature or story telling or who wants to develop a niche in their career. This program could also be an alternative to a Special Master's program and provide applicants a hook to get into medical school.