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The Importance of Medical Poetry

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This paper explores the benefits reading and writing medical poetry can benefit preprofessional/medical students, physicians, and patients as a means to share the experiences they
encounter in the medical world. The concept for this paper originates from the idea of

This paper explores the benefits reading and writing medical poetry can benefit preprofessional/medical students, physicians, and patients as a means to share the experiences they
encounter in the medical world. The concept for this paper originates from the idea of narrative
medicine as a way to foster relationships between physicians and patients through the sharing of
stories, or narratives, between the two parties. In efforts to help teach this skill, universities and
medical schools have begun to offer courses in the medical humanities. The goal of these courses
is to teach students how to develop the skills they need to empathize and learn from their
patients’ experiences. Paired with the traditional rigor of a science-based curriculum, the medical
humanities have become part of medical schools’ efforts to “train the whole physician.”
Medical poetry is an example of the types of humanities courses that can benefit students
interested in medicine. The history of medical poetry spans across decades of literary history.
Beginning with the early references of medicine from the ancient world to the contemporary
work of the present, poets of different backgrounds and histories are discussed. Research to
support the efficacy of medical poetry include studies done on how medical poetry has impacted
students, readers, and patients. Finally, the author’s experiences as both a pre-professional
student and patient are shared to further explore the benefits that reading, and writing can bring.

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2020-05

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Emergency Medicine

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Poetry has served as my own personal emergency medicine throughout my entire life. Its ability to capture a moment in its entirety has allowed me to fully address my experiences so that I can use them as a source of

Poetry has served as my own personal emergency medicine throughout my entire life. Its ability to capture a moment in its entirety has allowed me to fully address my experiences so that I can use them as a source of personal growth rather than let them hinder me over time. For this same reason, I also believe poetry is the perfect medium to capture medical traumas. I based the poetry written in this collection on medical emergencies that I either personally experienced or witnessed firsthand shadowing the paramedics of the Anaheim Fire Department. Having the opportunity to witness medical emergencies from the perspective of first responders emphasized the uniqueness of professions in charge of handling emergency medical situations. One of the most important lessons learned from my experiences is that medical traumas are not rare, and an alarmingly high percentage of people will experience some sort of medical trauma in their lifetime. Therefore, it is incredibly important for people to be prepared to process the traumas and medical emergencies they will eventually encounter. The aim of Emergency Medicine is first and foremost to honor the individuals who are affected by medical emergencies and the first responders/emergency medical personnel who work tirelessly to preserve the lives of their patients. I also hope my poems serve as a reminder of the spontaneous nature of trauma and encourage readers to consider using poetry as a form of both healing and self-alignment. I am incredibly thankful for everyone who helped me complete this collection of poetry, however I am especially grateful for the direction given to me by Dr. Rosemarie Dombrowski.

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Date Created
2020-05