Med Humanities 35:54 doi:10.1136/jmh.2008.001354
  • Educational case study

Developing narrative competence in medical students

  1. L Younie
  1. Dr L Younie, Academic Unit of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol, 25 Belgrave Road, Bristol BS8 2AA UK; louise.younie{at}
  • Accepted 17 December 2008

In this educational case study I describe how one student used words and painting to produce a creative interpretation and representation of an encounter with a patient.

This creative opportunity to develop narrative competence has been available to first year undergraduate medical students at Bristol University for three years. Student creative pieces are often a mixture of raw, powerful, poignant and medically naïve workings as students allow their imagination to help them step into the patient’s shoes.

The student, Amy, visited Mrs Jones, a 50-year-old woman suffering with depression, in her home. Amy then produced a moving and vivid account of Mrs Jones, their meeting and how it affected her. She captured the illness narrative she had heard both through painting and a written reflection, presenting a story of severe depression and self-harming resulting from childhood abuse. Mrs …