Using narratives to trigger reflection

Susan Law
Clinical Teacher 2011, 8 (3): 147-50

BACKGROUND: During the medical course at Dundee students are taught patient-centred medicine, and are encouraged to reflect actively upon their experiences. However, students often have limited familiarity with sensitive and life-changing events; this can make subsequent reflection superficial and of limited value. Many also struggle with the concept of reflection and how it can be used to further their personal and professional development.

CONTEXT: We developed and ran a student-selected component (SSC) that included the study of illness narrative as a way of facilitating reflection and increasing student awareness of the patient perspective of illness.

INNOVATION: Patient and doctor narratives were used as a proxy for patient contact, and allowed the exploration of sensitive topics including mental health issues, death and bereavement in a supportive context. Using a range of narratives we supported students in their reflections on these topics and identified increased self-awareness and a better understanding of the patient perspective. Students also discussed an intention to change their own practice.

IMPLICATIONS: Limited opportunities may exist for students to develop insight into the challenges faced by doctors and patients presented with challenging or sensitive illness and difficult decisions. The use of patient and doctor narratives to facilitate discussion and encourage reflection on sensitive issues can offer a useful supplement to patient contact.


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"