1st Edition

The Inner World of Medical Students Listening to Their Voices in Poetry

By Johanna Shapiro Copyright 2009

    "A passerby may marvel And admire my molded form. My every branch and twig and leaf Has learned how to conform". Why are some medical students drawn to creative writing? What issues does this writing address, and what needs, fears and experiences does it give expression to? What can we learn about the future generation of physicians from examining their writing? Until now, no systematic examination of the links between medical education, the students, their poetry and the meanings that can be gleaned from these writings has been published. In this comprehensive, clearly argued book, Shapiro explores contemporary academic thought on the topic and offers new insights on the medical education system. It is a critical appraisal which independently explores the positive and negative aspects of medical culture, student life, socialisation and learning through the unique expressive medium of medical student poetry. It sheds light on issues such as patient relationships that have become obscured over time, and offers fresh insight on fundamental, universal concerns such as mortality, suffering, acceptance and identity. This book provides a practical, comprehensive analysis of medical student poetry and is an invaluable resource for medical educators, those with an interest in the medical humanities, and medical students themselves.

    Medical Education as a Rite of Passage. Functions of writing for medical students. Why Study Medical Student Poetry? Living Anatomy: The Experience of Cadaver Dissection. Am I a doctor Yet? Becoming a Physician. It’s not only what’s in your brain, it’s what’s in your heart: becoming a physician part II. Oh Doctor, doctor, what can I do? You are my patient…let us take flight! If they don’t care, why should I? Student-patient relationships II. Tickling the conscience: the intersection of medicine and social justice. I am afraid as I ponder that inevitable end: death and dying. Is this the way of life? Reflections on love and life. Strangers in a strange land: what matters to medical students on their journey and how they tell about it. Postscript: writing rings around death.


    Johanna Shapiro