Finding Purpose: Honing the Practice of Making Meaning in Medicine

Despite decades of advances in diagnosing and treating a broad range of illnesses, many changes in our health care system impede true caregiving, leaving patients and practitioners dissatisfied and creating an emotional burden for practitioners that contributes to the staggering rates of physician burnout. Given this dissatisfaction and disconnection, practitioners and patients alike can benefit from structured opportunities to explore the expectations, assumptions, and emotions that shape our understanding of health and illness, and thus our experiences within the health care system.

So begins a new article demonstrating how group discussions of poetry—something that might seem irrelevant to medical practice or physical wellness—can foster communication, connection, and collective reflection for physicians, interprofessional health care teams, and groups that include practitioners, patients, and families, allowing participants to once again find meaning in medicine.

The article is published in The Permanente Journal (a medical journal akin to JAMA or New England Journal of Medicine—so my article lives among ones about cutting-edge medical research). You can download the PDF here: http://www.thepermanentejournal.org/files/2017/17-048.pdf It’s free, and written in an accessible style, and I am hoping it will do good work in the world, so please share it widely with poetry-types and medical-types whom you know.

 

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