Medical Students Learn to Tell Stories about Their Patients and Themselves

Johanna Shapiro, PhD, Elena Bezzubova, MD, PhD, and Ronald Koons, MD

A small group of third-year medical students and interdisciplinary faculty sit around a table. The students look weary—stethoscopes slung around their necks, white coats slightly rumpled, pockets overflowing with smartphones, pens, scraps of paper, a half-eaten candy bar. They are not sure what to expect, but they are glad to sit down.

“Tell us a story about one of your patients,” an attending physician invites the group.

The students exchange uncertain glances. Finally, one takes the plunge. “Patient is a 32-year-old Latino male who presented with—”

Another faculty member smiles as she holds up a hand. “That sounds like a case presentation. Tell us a story.”

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