Tag Archives: medical humanities

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Meghan Kerr is a medical student at University of Toronto.

 

 

I was swept into this world,

Feet taken out from under me

My trickling stream no match

For the roaring torrent, and

Their confluence, ...continue reading

Brianna Cheng is a MSc Epidemiology student in the Class of 2020 at McGill University.

 

 


is it possible to mourn the living?

 

time’s grasp on youth seems ever loose

while draining those already

shaking

dithering

moaning

clutching that metal receptacle

you cursed and swore

words you would never use

begrudgingly accepting this fifth, sixth appendage

that appear with age

(which I swear the developmental anatomy textbooks

did not include

not because their ink ran out

but because there is still a deep fear within us all

about what it means to be old and frail)

 

what happened?

i mean, besides a few creaks

you were the picture of health

you’d cry “1000 steps a day”

and diligently proceed to walk

up and down home’s narrow halls

up and down

up and down

a steady force within our walls

learning tongues and news

with sharp wit and humour

an independent spirit

who had inspired my love of

good literature, medicine,

and above all,

people.

 

you were a life force,

and especially

mine

 

i know im not a doc (yet) grandma

but

i know we need to

confront this together

and acknowledge this together

sometime

when we’re both ready

 

for now,

maybe it’s better

we both just allow ourselves to

feel and sulk and be at odds

if only to remind ourselves

we’re both still here

even as some lonely, disjointed echoes of

who we both used to be.

we can mourn together.

Kacper Niburski is a medical student in the Class of 2021 at McGill University. He is also the CMAJ student humanities blog editor. Follow his writing : .

 


 

ventricular septal defect

you would not understand

what it means to fall in love

with the blue

to come to pour it

to read it in the cracks of light under heavy spines

to see it in green marseille waters ...continue reading

 is an Internal Medicine Resident (R1) at the University of Toronto. Check back the last Thursday of each month for a new featured piece as part of his series (Doc Talks: Reflections to Reality)!

 

Pieces of a puzzle inherit meaning not by their individual qualities, but by being pieced together into context. Good medicine — and good healthcare — are similar: they rely on understanding patients as people, and clinical presentations as brush-strokes forming part of a bigger picture. ...continue reading

Maggie Hulbert is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at Queen's University

 


(Singing Dragon, 2017)

Earlier this fall, over the course of a tense dinner table discussion, it came to light that a dear relative of mine held some blatantly transphobic beliefs. I was greatly distressed by this — not only because these beliefs were at complete odds with my own, but because I had no idea what to do. I felt that it was my responsibility to educate them and keep communication channels open... but having had little success with blunt confrontation, I was at a loss.

Then I read First Year Out: A Transition Story, the second graphic novel by Vancouver-based author . First Year Out describes the story of Lily in her first year as an openly trans woman, and covers everything in Lily’s life from the basics (such as how she gets dressed and her first experience with online dating) to the harder conversations (like confronting her mother about her TERF [trans-exclusionary radical feminism] attitude and telling her boyfriend that she wants sexual reassignment surgery). Through the incredible medium of graphic story-telling, we get to literally see how Lily grows into herself. ...continue reading

Shubham Shan is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Toronto

 

 

 

How to read a :

  1. Read the left hand poem as a first discrete poem.
  2. Read the right hand poem as a second discrete poem.
  3. Read the whole as a third integrated poem.

...continue reading

Giuliana Guarna is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at McMaster University

 

Knock, knock.

I pulled back the large door and stepped into the room. It was early in the morning — just after 6 am. She was lying in bed, awake, with a smile on her face despite the fact that she was post-op. The evidence of surviving rounds of chemo were borne out in front of me. Her hair was peach fuzz, peeking through a silk turban wrapped around her head. Her cheeks were like little Timbits, but her frame was swallowed by her hospital gown.

“Oh, hi. Come in. Let me turn on the light.”

I walk to the foot of the bed. The sun had not yet peeked out from under the shades. The room was illuminated by a yellowish-white hospital glow as she pressed the switch.

“How are you today?” ...continue reading

The 10th annual White Coat Warm heART exhibit, which celebrates and showcases the creative talents of medical trainees and practitioners from across Canada, will be held in conjunction with the Canadian Conference on Medical education (CCME) in Niagara Falls from April 13th to 16th, 2019.

Submission is via  — in order to have your art considered by the jury, you must register (it's free!) Entries can include, oils, watercolours, photographs, pastels, etchings, pen and ink, etc. Limited space will also be available for the display of small sculptures.

The deadline for submission is Sunday, January 27th by 5 PM PST.

Serena Arora is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at McMaster University

 

I love puzzles.

I love looking at the picture on the box, seeing what the completed version will look like and then pouring out all the little pieces — knowing that, somehow, they all come together to create something.

In some ways, practicing medicine is like doing a puzzle. It’s complex, intersecting, and incredibly rewarding when done right. At the same time, medicine is fractured into a thousand different components.  As physicians, we look at our patients and we piece them apart into organs and body systems and tissues. We rip the details we think are important from the fabric of their narrative to focus on specific complaints. We take their words and distill them into our jargon, often so much so that their original story would be unrecognizable. Medicine is often an act of reductionism.

If medicine is a puzzle, then palliative care is like the picture on the box. ...continue reading

 is an Internal Medicine Resident (R1) at the University of Toronto. Check back the last Thursday of each month for a new featured piece as part of his series (Doc Talks: Reflections to Reality)!

 

Once an elastic band is stretched beyond its limits, it is difficult for it to return it to its unstretched state. Burnout represents a similar phenomenon: an erosion of one’s sense of self and a reflection of emotional over-exhaustion, leading to disinvestment and depersonalization. Years of intensive training, long working hours, increased managerial responsibilities, resource limitations, emotionally-involved patient and family encounters, fear of limited job prospects and litigation, and mounting clinical and non-clinical responsibilities, among other demands: physicians and other health care professionals represent a highly vulnerable group susceptible to burnout, with some estimates suggesting . Evidence suggests that physicians experiencing burnout are more likely to make poor medical decisions, share more tenuous relationships with co-workers, experience more individual and personal relationship challenges, and suffer higher risks of anxiety, depression, and suicidality. Physician burnout has also been associated with differences in overall quality of care, system-level costs, and rates of staff turnover and absenteeism.

This piece focuses on the compromise some residents and physicians make in placing themselves second while dedicating themselves to the care of others, and the silence that some encounter while struggling with burnout. It is encouraging to observe that dialogue around burnout and mental health is growing at individual, institutional, and systemic levels over time. This piece is part of that conversation. ...continue reading