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Charon R. Narrative Medicine: A Model for Empathy, Reflection, Profession, and Trust. JAMA. 2001;286(15):1897–1902. doi:10.1001/jama.286.15.1897
Author Affiliation: Division of General Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York, NY.
The Patient-Physician Relationship Section Editor: Richard M. Glass, MD, Deputy Editor.
The effective practice of medicine requires narrative competence, that
is, the ability to acknowledge, absorb, interpret, and act on the stories
and plights of others. Medicine practiced with narrative competence, called narrative medicine, is proposed as a model for humane and
effective medical practice. Adopting methods such as close reading of literature
and reflective writing allows narrative medicine to examine and illuminate
4 of medicine's central narrative situations: physician and patient, physician
and self, physician and colleagues, and physicians and society. 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. By bridging the divides that
separate physicians from patients, themselves, colleagues, and society, narrative
medicine offers fresh opportunities for respectful, empathic, and nourishing
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