Doctors can easily get into the pattern of treating their patients like a slab of meat to be fixed. Anyone who’s spent some time in hospitals have seen doctors waltz into the room, grab the chart from the end of the bed, mumble a few things to themselves, say a word or two to the patient and disappear as quickly as they arrived.
So it was heartening to see that there is a movement building called narrative medicine where doctors read and discuss stories about patients, literary stories and poems. This New York Times article is well worth the two-page read to see what some doctors are doing to engage the emotions of their interns and ensure humanity is returned to the doctor-patient relationship. By reading stories such as Empty Pockets and discussing what it means to the doctors they are creating a space for valuable conversation. This is similar to the Ritz Carlton example. And when asked about the time commitment:
And the time commitment? “It does get pretty busy,” Dr. Kaplan conceded. “But if you want to make time for it, you can. Spending a half hour a day to remember that we are all human, not just doctors or pharmacists or nurses or patients, is important enough that I think you should do it.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: