Appendix 22 - Medical Student Poetry

by Michael Greger, MD and United Progressive Alumni

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From an analysis of medical student poetry published in Academic Medicine:

The voices in these students' poems struggle to hold on to elements of themselves (idealism, optimism, innocence) as they encounter a world that seems, variously, to diminish or dehumanize themselves and the patients they meet....

[They] often express a growing sense of alienation. They tend to depict hopeless, tragic, or horrifying situations, and students often write from the peripheries, such as a doorway, or as an observer behind the medical team.[283]

Two excerpts:

We are islands

and med school provides

few life preservers

for our sinking personalities...[284]

 

I breathe and remain silent

because my life is not my own

because I am not sure what is left of me

as I think this

I boil with hate

at the forces shackling me

at myself

and I'm just tired, man

and I feel deflated with pain.[285]

 
 

[283] Poiier, S, WR Ahrens and DJ Brauner. "Songs of Innocence and Experience." Academic Medicine 73(1998):473-478.

[284] Hundert, EM. "Characteristics of the Informal Curriculum and Trainees' Ethical Choices." Academic Medicine 71(1996):624-640.

[285] Poiier, S, WR Ahrens and DJ Brauner. "Songs of Innocence and Experience." Academic Medicine 73(1998):473-478.

 
 
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