BMED3001 Narrative Medicine for research, education and practice

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Humanities in Health and Medicine major sequence
As humans we cast our identity in a narrative form as a way of expressing ourselves and our world to one another in different forms, including both literature and art. Narrative Medicine (Charon, 2000) refers to clinical practice infused with narrative competence – the capacity to recognize, absorb, metabolize, interpret, and be moved by stories of illness. It allows the clinician to enter the narrative world of the patient– through the stories they tell, to dwell and comprehend what is at stake there. This can be achieved through drawing on established literature or writing about oneself and one's patients in order to access deeper meaning and understanding of clinical practice that is otherwise unobtainable. This unit introduces the concepts of narrative medicine including attentive listening, narrative writing, close reading skills, literary and philosophical analysis and reflective reasoning and how to translate this learning to education and clinical settings.
Students are able to (1) explain the meaning of the term narrative medicine and describe how it can be used in research, education and practice.; (2) demonstrate how narrative medicine tools of close reading, attentive listening and narrative writing from clinical practice can encourage empathy and promote deeper understanding between clinician and patient.; (3) reflect on how narrative approaches can enrich understandings of illness, surface unexplored meanings in everyday clinical practice and foster personal and professional growth and development.; (4) demonstrate techniques used in narrative interviewing and explain how they can be used to see the fuller picture of patient's outer (culture, society) and their inner (motives, interests, emotions) lives.; and (5) discuss narrative learning, pedagogy and how it can be used as a research methodology in health..
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) narrative interview; (2) written assessment; and (3) creative written assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Brid Phillips
Unit rules
BMED2001 Humanities in Health and Medicine
Contact hours
Seminars 2 hours per week for 12 weeks
Workshops 5 x 2 hours over semester
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.