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Narrative Medicine

  • By: Lynn M. Harter & Amy E. Chadwick
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

The contemporary narrative medicine movement in the United States began during the 1990s in response to growing recognition that patients believed physicians (and other health care providers) generally seemed indifferent to their suffering. Rita Charon coined the term narrative medicine to signal the importance of storytelling in radically changing the practice of health care. Charon represents an increasing number of physicians who recognize the capacity of narrative activity to broaden the narrow gaze of the biomedical model, which often treats patients as body parts to fix or illnesses to solve. Narratives and storytelling are key components of diagnostic reasoning and clinical practice, the development of healing relationships, and the socialization of physicians.

Clinical interactions would be impossible without humans' capacity to order their experiences in narrative ...

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