Clinicians on Doximity are teaming up and prioritizing creativity and reflection in medicine. Last month, a group of eight clinicians across the country met virtually for Doximity’s inaugural narrative medicine workshop. Facilitated by narrative medicine-trained Doximity editor, Angelica Recierdo, these clinicians were invited to participate as part of Doximity’s Op-Med Fellows Program.

Doximity’s Op-Med Fellows care about writing and sharing their stories and experiences — the essence of narrative medicine. Pioneered at Columbia University by physician-literary scholar, Dr. Rita Charon, narrative medicine improves health care through narrative competence, a skill that can be enhanced through workshops that focus on close reading, writing, and reflecting.

During one hour out of their busy medical lives, the group read and discussed Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones,” wrote to the prompt “write about something ill-advised” (a line from Smith’s poem), and shared their moving pieces with one another. The poem can be received with both optimism and bitterness at the world, and serves as a testing ground for clinicians to work through emotions and model their own creative writing. According to one Annals of Palliative Medicine study, “reading non-medical literature on a consistent basis may be associated with a significantly decreased likelihood of burnout.” Practicing narrative medicine can save those that save.

Similarly to discussing a patient case on rounds, the group diligently pored over the poem and each other’s writing. Personal topics that surfaced from the prompt and workshop were stress during residency, worries about patients’ well-being post-discharge, and more. Participants expressed enthusiasm and interest for future workshop offerings. The workshop was a chance for the group to be humans first, clinicians second.

Doximity Fellows work on a wide range of projects that are disrupting health care. Learn more about Doximity’s Fellows Program and how you can apply to be a thought leader in medicine.

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