cover of book

Patient Listening: A Doctor's Guide
edited by Loreen Herwaldt
University of Iowa Press, 2008
eISBN: 978-1-58729-897-4 | Paper: 978-1-58729-652-9
Library of Congress Classification RC48.P325 2008
Dewey Decimal Classification 610.696

From the fictional portrayal of Dr. Gregory House to Jerome Groopman's bestseller How Doctors Think, both medical professionals and the general public recognize that there is more to the doctor's job than technical practice. Yet why do so many patients come away from their doctors' offices feeling dissatisfied with their interactions? In this welcome addition to the growing field of narrative medicine, physician Loreen Herwaldt uses the illness narratives of two dozen writer-patients to teach listening skills to medical students, residents, physicians, and other health care providers.

Herwaldt skillfully pares each narrative down to its most basic elements, rendering them into powerful found poems that she has used successfully in her role as a teacher and in her own practice. Drawing from narratives by writers who are both emerging and well known, including Oliver Sacks, Richard Selzer, and Mary Swander, each poem reveals the experience of illness and treatment from the patient's perspective. Patient Listening includes a detailed general introduction and a how-to guide that will prove invaluable in the classroom and in clinical practice.

This book will inspire thoughtfulness in everyone who reads it. It is also designed to foster discussions about all aspects of the patient experience from ethics to stigmatization to health insurance. Patient Listening is not just about bedside manner but also about how health care providers can gain the most from their interactions with patients and in turn offer more appropriate treatments, develop more cooperative and responsive relationships with their patients, and thus become better doctors.
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