Stories Medical Students Tell

Johanna Shapiro PhD

This paper presents a content analysis of informal medical student stories that were by-products of a course on the Art of Doctoring. The stories are divided into negative and positive categories. In the former category , stories of loss , helplessness , and disillusionment were identified. In the latter ; stories of renewal, heroism , and transformation predominated. Students told stories as an act of reflection, a cry for help, a way to reduce isolation, and an invitation to activism. Over time, trends in the direction of increased flexibility and positivity were observed. Storytelling served as a method for healing students’ initial sense of dislocation and purposelessness. Through their stories, students began to reconcile disillusionment with hope for their future as physicians.

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