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Introducing narrative medicine into undergraduate and postgraduate curricula at Western University

Dr. Shannon Arntfield

Award: Phoenix Project Fellowship (2012)

Co-Sponsor: Western University

  • Medical education and curricula

After a catastrophic experience as a resident and through several challenges during her own pregnancy, Shannon learned what it really means to be a patient. Both experiences taught her that despite her training, she had very little idea what it’s really like for people to experience illness. She also realized she didn’t know how to take care of herself as a care provider. 

Shannon was pleased to use her AMS fellowship to address these issues through curricular development in medical education. She was particularly interested in using narrative medicine, which bridges the gap between patients and providers. It teaches that how care is delivered is just as important as what care is delivered. She used her fellowship to successfully introduce narrative medicine and reflective practice into undergraduate and postgraduate medicine in a mandatory, longitudinal fashion. Through her work, students learn that it’s important to understand the experience of illness if they want to take care of people well. They also acquire the skills and knowledge required to take care of themselves as care providers.

Hear Dr. Shannon Arntfield talk about her work