The purpose of the Narrative Medicine Fellowship is to support projects that fortify the new field of Narrative Medicine both nationally and internationally. We congratulate the fellowship winners for this year!
The Intima, Refreshed: The Intima was created by a group of graduate students in the Narrative Medicine program in Columbia in 2010, and published its first journal in Fall 2011. Some six issues later, it has attracted writers in the literary and medical fields from around the world. After four successful years, The Intima and its staff of 10 editors, has taken on a new challenge: To upgrade the look, navigation, and scope of its website, in addition to bolstering our social media presence. In addition to refreshing the look and function of The Intima, a portion of this fellowship grant would go toward strengthening the scope of The Intima by holding another essay contest and hosting other nights at Bowery Poetry Club.
The Narrative Medicine fellowship funds will be utilized in three areas. First, expand and complete NarrativeNursing.com. Second, to run a research study with a floor or unit of a hospital with nurses who work in areas with high rates of burnout (pediatric oncology, critical care and emergency department.) to measure any fluctuations in the compassion fatigue levels of said nurses. Lastly, if the results do, indeed, help nurses and their levels of compassion fatigue, the remainder of the fellowship monies will be utilized to market NarrativeNursing.com to nurses who may be at high risk for compassion fatigue.
Does close reading lead to close listening? As practitioners of narrative medicine, we believe — and hope — that it does. I’m trying to answer that question with a brief narrative intervention in the neurology clerkship at the University of Virginia. The students will compare lay and medicalized descriptions of migraine, and then will write their own “parallel chart” on a patient they saw in clinic or in the hospital. I’m looking for differences in the writing style between those who completed a narrative medicine workshop and those who simply read the essays on their own. If our pilot program is successful, the narrative workshop will become a part of the neurology clerkship.
Anoushka Sinha & Lauren Kascak
Our project is twofold: to provide a space for patients in the Palliative Care Department of Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai to share their stories by listening to and documenting their life histories; and to facilitate a series of Narrative Medicine workshops with palliative care staff at the hospital. We will then assess the impact of our presence and work at the hospital by co-authoring an essay that we will strive to publish in a journal and/or present at a conference. The purpose of this project is to use Narrative Medicine as a vehicle for palliative care team building, to explore Indian palliative care professionals’ attitudes towards communicating with their patients, and to allow patients to reflect and give accounts of their lives in the season of their deaths.
I am teaching an introductory narrative seminar seminar for first and second year medical students at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. We are working together to build the narrative skills necessary to “recognize, absorb, interpret, and be moved by the stories of illness.” Students who participate in the course will be exposed to many of the fundamental principles and practices of narrative medicine. The focus of this seminar is on exploring what it means to listen and what it means to be ill. The course culminates in an narrative project where each student must place themselves in the role of a chronically ill patient who who must tell a new doctor about their specific case.