While technological and medical advancements have made it possible to diagnose and treat previously deadly conditions, modern day medicine comes with a new set of challenges around the doctor-patient relationship. Scientifically competent medicine cannot always help patients cope emotionally with their health issues. For physicians, understanding patients’ experience with illness in order to comfort and accompany them through their challenges is just as important as meeting their physical health needs. Dr. Rita Charon, the founder of narrative medicine, highlights how physicians today sometimes lack the ability to connect with, empathize with, and support their patients through difficult diagnoses.1 When physicians struggle to meaningfully engage with a patient’s narrative, the patient may feel uncomfortable and unheard. Narrative medicine aims to lessen the patient-provider gap, focusing on understanding patients’ lives and suffering in order to promote healing. It involves developing narrative competence, which is the ability to listen to, absorb, and reflect on patients’ stories.
"Narrative Medicine in Ophthalmology,"
inSIGHT: Vol. 1:
1, Article 7.
Available at: https://jdc.jefferson.edu/insight/vol1/iss1/7