An Exploratory Study of a Fourth-Year Narrative Medicine Elective: Promoting Strategies for Personal Well-Being and Improved Patient Care

Narrative medicine promotes the effective practice of medicine by requiring clinicians to listen to, reflect on, and manage not only the physiology of disease but also patient stories. The Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine offers a narrative medicine elective to fourth-year students who participate in reading, writing, and discussion activities that focus on processing their medical school experiences. This study evaluated the potential roles of this course in promoting strategies for personal well-being and improved patient care.

Target Audience

Southern Medical Journal (SMJ) is an interdisciplinary, multi-specialty Journal, and articles span the spectrum of medical topics, providing timely, up-to-date information for primary care physicians and specialists alike. The SMJ enables physicians to provide the best possible care to patients in this age of rapidly changing modern medicine. Therefore, the readers of the SMJ are an appropriate target for this article.

Learning Objectives

Physicians (and other health care workers) may benefit from exploring ‘narrative medicine’ literature. Doing so, may allow them to practice better and more holistic medicine. Other benefits may include better understanding of the different ways patients, families, and caregivers may be impacted by medical conditions. Better understanding particularly may relate to one or more of the less rigorously examined domains of impact such as emotional, social, work environment, family, disability, financial and other domains.

Narrative medicine requires practice to hone one’s perception and communication abilities. Practice allows clinicians to more effectively recognize and develop more holistic details of the story of patient and/or caregiver experiences and concerns regarding their medical condition(s), interactions with the health care system, and other facets of their life experiences. Narrative medicine may yield a more erudite understanding of a patient’s condition and ‘medical story’. The processing and refining of the raw information provided by patients and caregivers into more precise and accurate written or oral statements typically improves thought, reflection and writing skills. Once a polished description is written or mentally developed then more significant insights and interactions tend to arise.

At the conclusion of the activity, learners should be better prepared to:

  1. Recognize the potential for narrative medicine practices to promote well-being and increased self-satisfaction among healthcare workers.
  2. Develop knowledge and skills to utilize narrative medicine to improve well-being and satisfaction while working in healthcare settings.

Additional Information

Southern Medical Association
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Southern Medical Association (SMA) requires instructors, planners, managers, and all other individuals who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose conflicts of interest (COI) with ineligible entities within the last 24 months of the development of this activity. All identified COIs are thoroughly vetted and mitigated prior to the release of the activity. SMA is committed to providing its learners with high quality activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest.

The following individuals, unless otherwise notedhave no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Manuscript Author(s):
Sarah E. Stumbar, MD, MPH
Marthena Phan, BS
Marquita Samuels, MBA

Southern Medical Association/Southern Medical Journal Editorial Staff:
Steven T. Baldwin, MD, SMJ Editor-in-Chief
Jennifer S. Price, MA, Managing Editor
Anita McCabe, Copyeditor

Southern Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Southern Medical Association designates this Journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

AAPA: AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society. 

AANPCP: The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Healthcare Professionals: For information on applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity, please consult your professional licensing board.  All healthcare professionals who are not MDs or DOs will receive a certificate of participation.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit
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This activity is designed to be completed within the time designated; learners should claim only those credits that reflect the time actually spent in the activity. To successfully earn credit, participants must complete the activity online during the valid credit period noted, following these steps:

  • Read the goals and objectives, accreditation information, and author disclosures.
  • Login in below to access the article in order to study the educational content and references.
  • Online, choose the best answer to each test question. To receive a certificate, you must receive a passing score.
  • Complete the activity evaluation and attestation.