Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


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.

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

Students are able to (1) 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.; (2) 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.; (3) 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.; (4) discuss narrative learning, pedagogy and how it can be used as a research methodology in health.; and (5) design a creative narrative medicine piece aligned with a health topic for education or practice.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) narrative assessment; (2) written assessment; and (3) creative written assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Sandra Carr and Dr Kelby Smith-Han
Unit rules
Successful completion of
BMED2001 Humanities in Health and Medicine (ID 6754)
Contact hours
Seminars 1 hours per week for 12 weeks
Workshops 5 x 2 hours over semester
  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.