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.

Read the full article