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A Piece of My Mind
July 11, 2017

Stories Doctors Tell

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Communication Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2Centre for Education Research and Innovation, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
JAMA. 2017;318(2):124-125. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.5518

In special sections such as this one (A Piece of My Mind), leading medical journals publish physicians’ narrative anecdotes. These narratives offer a unique window onto the practice of medicine, and, in a context of current concerns about physician wellness and rising rates of burnout,1 they may constitute an untapped resource for understanding how physicians perceive their personal and professional challenges. Using a narrative inquiry approach,2 we explored the stories that physicians spontaneously chose to tell about the practice of medicine in narrative sections of medical journals, focusing on the lessons conveyed, the narrative strategies used to convey them, and the relationships between the two.