History Lessons: What Doctors Learn When Doing Patient Histories by Natasha Massoudi

We learn in medical school to take full social, family and physical histories with a new patient. We use checkboxes to run down the list of points in each history. We are taught to be thorough and document each answer. Often though, between the checkboxes and lists, the patient’s story is forgotten.

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The Importance of Transitions: A Reflection by Ob/Gyn Andrea Eisenberg

Transitions are equally important in the hospital as day shifts to night and night to day and we hand off patients we may have been taking care of the past 12 to 24 hours. Just as children need time to adjust to a transition, so do our patients as they transition to a new day, new staff, and possibly a new baby. 

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When the Medical Mask Slips: The Contradictions of Care by Vik Reddy

Patients want caregivers to be professional and competent.  At the same time, patients expect a level of compassion and empathy from medical professionals.  These two impulses can be contradictory. 

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Does A Poem A Day Keep the Doctor Away? Thoughts on Injecting A Dose of Culture in Medical Waiting Rooms by Debbie McCulliss

Scholars have begun encouraging doctors to gain more insight from their patients through narrative writing, especially poetry. According to Dr. Rita Charon, director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University and co-editor of Literature and Medicine, “With narrative competence, physicians can reach and join their patients in illness, recognize their own personal journeys through medicine, acknowledge kinship with and duties toward other health care professionals, and inaugurate consequential discourse with the public about health care” (as cited in Encke, 2011).

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