Telling Our Stories

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Increasingly, medical schools are embracing the importance of narrative medicine, the ability for physicians to construct stories about the experiences of their patients in an attempt to be able to see and work with a more complete picture.

Physicians are scientists. We are also human beings, storytelling creatures. We must come to embrace that, just as storytelling can be beneficial in both clinical and emotional outcomes for our patients, telling our own stories has the power to transform our lives.

When we listen to a story, when we tell a story, we make space for connection and empathy, two things vital to our ability to thrive. Ours is a profession that is ripe with suffering— the suffering of our patients and their families, the suffering of our colleagues, our own suffering. In a time in which physicams are suffering from burn-out and feelings of isolation at an alarming rate, telling a story is extending a hand. Sharing our human, personal experiences with one another sends a clear and simple message, one we all need to be reminded of time and again: you are not alone.

A good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end— a reminder that each season of life will end and another will begin. When we listen to stories, we are reminded of what we are capable of enduring. Great storms come, yes, but we weather them. Stories remind us that dawn comes, the world turns, seasons change. We are all made of stories. What story will you tell?

Tracy Sanson