A Whole Other Story: Interpreting Narrative Medicine

Glob Adv Health Med. 2021 Jul 6;10:21649561211031880. doi: 10.1177/21649561211031880. eCollection 2021.


The practice of conventional medicine is rooted in the ability of a patient to effectively communicate with their physician, and for the physician to comprehend the patient's story and perceive it through the lens of evidence-based practice. In reality, the differences in environmental backgrounds hinders this exchange of information and prevents a shared understanding and strategy. Narrative medicine provides a framework in which this divide can be bridged by encouraging the clinician to develop an appreciation of cultural nuances that drive a patient's decision making. The importance of this practice is highlighted with four stories in which the only path to competent patient management was through the utilization of narrative medicine.

Keywords: Interpretation; global health; narrative medicine; patient communication.