May 21, 2022
"Physicians have a deep well of experiences to draw from in their writing. They witness dramatic episodes of heroism, cures, disappointments, and failures. They see unforgettable scenes, hear devastating words, make difficult decisions, and observe people at crucial moments in their lives. Most importantly, they witness the power of cause and effect – one action producing a resulting action – a building block of fiction, nonfiction, and poetical narratives. Great writing comes out of these experiences.
The stresses of the COVID pandemic intensified the need for my students to creatively express themselves. There is more to medicine than science, and physician-writers can feel their doctoring strengthen as they synthesize and imagine experiences and explore on the page what it means to be observant, compassionate, and curious. They regain their original purpose in pursuing medicine as a profession. Complementing their grounding in science, they reclaim their grounding in humanity."
Jack El-Hai is a writer and creative writing coach.
He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, "Why I help physicians write."
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