1st Edition

Narrative Medicine in Veterinary Practice
Improving Client Communication, Patient Care, and Veterinary Well-being

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after October 26, 2021
ISBN 9780367647612
October 26, 2021 Forthcoming by CRC Press
168 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations

USD $32.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

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

View More



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)

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