Applying narrative to medical education
The benefits of incorporating narrative methods in teaching and learning in medical education are now widely accepted through the work of scholars including Rita Charon, Brian Hurwitz and Trisha Greenhalgh. In this chapter we consider issues that arise during the process of implementing the teaching of narrative medicine within a medical curriculum that is dominated by bioscience content and assessments that are largely based upon assimilation of factual knowledge and competency in a range of clinical skills. In this context the medical humanities have had a mixed reception. We consider how psychological and socio-cultural theories might inform the introduction of medical humanities and narrative medicine teaching. To illustrate we refer to (1) the work of Anton Chekhov (1860–1904), a writer and physician whose stories can be used to raise issues about the doctor’s role and duty, the nature of disease and illness, and the life and psychology of people who suffer from illness and, (2) feedback from medical students on the introduction of a narrative assessment.