From Doctors' Stories to Doctors' Stories, and Back Again

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Abstract

Stories have always been central to medicine, but during the twentieth century bioscience all but eclipsed narrative's presence in medical practice. In Doctors' Stories, published in 1991, Kathryn Montgomery excavated medicine's narrative foundations and functions to reveal new possibilities for how to conceive and characterize medicine. Physicians' engagement with stories has since flourished, especially through the narrative medicine movement, although in the twenty-first century this has been challenged by the health care industry's business-minded and data-driven clinical systems. But doctors' stories-and Montgomery's text-remain crucial, schooling clinicians in reflection, ethical awareness, and resilience. Physicians who write even short, 55-word reflective stories can hold to humanistic and ethical understandings of patient care and of themselves as healers even as they practice in systematized settings and employ evidence-based expertise.

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From Doctors’ Stories to Doctors’ Stories, and Back Again. (2017). AMA Journal of Ethics, 19(3), 272–280. https://doi.org/10.1001/journalofethics.2017.19.3.nlit1-1703

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