This is the first guide to Veterinary Narrative Medicine, a cutting-edge approach in human medicine with multiple applications in veterinary medicine. The text combines the latest research with numerous real-world examples and practical techniques to improve client communication, patient care, and veterinary well-being.
Narrative Medicine maintains that a patient should be viewed as an individual rather than an example of a disease process, and that this can be accomplished by using narrative. This book explores methods and theories from leaders in the human Narrative Medicine field while addressing topics unique to veterinary medicine. Readers will gain tools to help navigate difficult conversations and situations in clinical practice, including those involving the end of life.
Narrative Medicine in Veterinary Practice also addresses the important issue of veterinary wellness. The ability to view the veterinarian's own stories and those of clients and patients as narratives may help practitioners maintain both emotional and work-place boundaries as well as decrease burnout and compassion fatigue. The book describes basic techniques to promote self-reflection and mindfulness, skills often overlooked in the veterinary profession which can improve resilience and increase the enjoyment of veterinary practice.
This is important reading for veterinary practitioners, students, veterinary nurses, technicians, social workers, and all veterinary clinic staff.
Table of Contents
Part One: Narrative Medicine for People.
Chapter One: Overview.
Chapter Two: Related Fields.
Part Two: The Veterinary Appointment.
Chapter Three: Before the Appointment
Chapter Four: Taking a History.
Chapter Five: Creating a Plan.
Chapter Six: Recording the Narrative
Part Three: Unique to Veterinary Medicine.
Chapter Seven: The Connection Triangle.
Chapter Eight: Grief, Guilt, and Shame
Chapter Nine: The Workplace
Chapter Ten: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Chapter Eleven: Veterinary Social Work
Part Four: Our Own Stories
Chapter Twelve: Burnout and Fatigue
Chapter Thirteen: Reflective Practice
Chapter Fourteen: Moving Forwards
Dr. Karen Fine’s interest in Narrative Medicine stems from many years of doing home visits, her experience as a holistic, integrative practitioner, and her love of reading. She achieved certification in veterinary acupuncture in 2002, and is a graduate of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Dr. Fine is an adjunct professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Her forthcoming memoir, The Other Family Doctor, is being published by Anchor books, a division of Penguin Random House.
Her website is www.karenfinedvm.com.
This is a remarkable book. Karen Fine has a deep and intuitive understanding of Narrative Medicine and has applied this to veterinary practice in a way that is wise, compassionate and realistic. Dr Fine pays close attention to the complex dynamics that can exist between client, animal and veterinarian and how to harness these for effective treatment. Her book offers a feast of ideas, tips and heart-warming stories to guide everyday practice. This is an essential read for every veterinary student and practitioner.
-- John Launer, Health Education England, author of Narrative-Based Practice in Health and Social Care (Routledge, 2018)
This innovative book makes a compelling case for reimagining modern veterinary practice in ways that benefit the animal patient, its human caretaker, and veterinary professionals. As human-animal connections evolve, so must the practice of veterinary medicine. Pets today are often considered family members, and scientific advances offer more treatment options to consider. On the other hand, the practice of modern veterinary medicine is increasingly impersonal for both clients and veterinary staff. One remedy, the author suggests, is applying the Narrative Medicine or "three dimensional medicine" model, which takes into account the animal patient, the human caregiver, and environment and other contextual aspects. The author, a seasoned veterinarian, skillfully weaves together concepts and methods of the growing Narrative Medicine movement in human medicine to veterinary practice, as well as insights from history, psychology, and other disciplines. Most compelling, though, are veterinary professionals’ stories about their own experiences. Well organized and clearly written, this very readable book is an important resource for veterinary education and practice. It will also appeal to a broad audience of animal lovers and pet owners interested in better understanding human-animal relationships and veterinary medicine.
-- Carolyn E. Ware, Associate Professor of English, Louisiana State University, USA
Dr. Fine beautifully describes veterinary narrative medicine in this wide-ranging must-have book for all clinicians. She provides anecdotes that illustrate how applying this approach can improve the care we provide to our patients and clients, while also taking better care of ourselves. She makes the excellent case that narrative medicine is a necessary parallel to evidence-based medicine and makes us better (and more efficient) veterinarians with deeper connections to our clients, patients and work, mitigating pervasive burn-out, perfectionism and self-judgement.
-- Annie Wayne DVM, MPH, DACVECC, Assistant Professor, Emergency and Critical Care, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University
Dr. Karen Fine was the one to introduce me this last year to the concept of Narrative Medicine. I realize through our conversations and in the lessons learned from reading her book that this is an incredibly powerful way to navigate building community, decreasing empathic distress and compassion fatigue, and practicing veterinary medicine in a sustainable way. This book provides an invaluable learning opportunity for all stages of veterinary professional development. Dr. Fine’s voice and choice of words struck just the right balance between wise instructor and caring friend making the reading so enjoyable. Her work supports an important contribution to the necessary shift of our professional culture that sees the people as much as the veterinary patients with compassion and care.
-- Sonja A. Olson, DVM, Clinical Health and Well-being Trainer at BluePearl Veterinary Partners, USA
By bringing attention to the human component of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Fine has provided us with an empathic and holistic perspective to medical care that has great potential for healing in the animal community; not only for animals, but their human companions and veterinary professionals as well.
-- Julie Gass, MSW, LICSW, Angell Animal Medical Center, USA
Narrative medicine is a concept thoroughly laid out here by Dr. Karen Fine to consider the whole picture, the important human/animal bond, and the well-being of the entire unit. There, in so-doing, the veterinarian is also encouraged to be self-compassionate and embrace their humanity in their valued roles as caregivers to the animals of this partnership. This book's wisdom comes from a place of experience, tenderness, and "you are doing it right already" crafting. There is fair acknowledgement of the heavy parts, to the role of the peace-bringers we can be, and to the necessity that we veterinarians take as good care of ourselves as we do our animal patients.-- Monica Mansfield, D.V.M., Chairperson of MVMA Wellness Committee and MVMA President-Elect