Fostering Narrative Competence will focus on developing the skills of close reading and reflective and creative writing through discussion of published work, sharing student writing in a guided, workshop setting, and a selection of writing and creativity exercises. The course is open to writers at all levels interested in working in a variety of genres (fiction, memoir, poetry , drama, non-fiction, etc.).

April 2019
Writing for Healthcare Practitioners: Creation, Reflection, and Practice
  • Wed, Apr 3 to
    Wed, Jun 12
Writing for Healthcare Practitioners: Creation, Reflection, and Practice

Program Overview

This program aims to meet the needs of healthcare practitioners seeking to explore creative and reflective writing, as well as those looking to inform their professional practice with narrative approaches to health and medicine.

The program will begin by introducing the elements of writing practice and the essentials of close reading, to be applied with greater focus and depth as the workshop goes on. We will read a selection of published works relating to health and the body, including short stories, memoir, and drama, and discuss what they offer to us as models. Guest speakers will offer theoretical/practical/creative perspectives on additional genres, such as poetry and non-fiction.

The program will offer writing prompts, assignments, exercises, and we will discuss work written by participants in-between classes, with guidance given on providing feedback that is at once honest and valuable to the writer. The aim is to provide a supportive framework for beginning writers and fuller mentorship for those already working on their own writing projects. There will also be some discussion of editing and possibilities for publication.

Guided by the participants’ interests and experience, we will have an ongoing discussion on the way that healthcare practice can be informed by narrative medicine and the relationship between the creative and healing arts. Participants will be encouraged to find ways to apply the lessons of narrative medicine in their professional lives, while understanding and respecting the ethical questions it raises.

This program will require in-between-session homework/readings.

Registration is now open until March 20, 2019. There is an associated registration fee of $700. A maximum of 15 participants will be accepted into the program on a first come, first served basis. The program will run if a minimum of 10 participants is met by the March 20 deadline.

Some program material will overlap with the previously offered program, Fostering Narrative Competence and Introducing Narrative-Based Medicine.

 Learning Goals

The goals of this program are:

  • to advance the skills of close reading and reflective and creative writing, reflection and listening
  • to provide participants with regular reading and writing support, discussion, and mentoring to enhance written communication through reviewing and discussing published work and practical exercises in storytelling and reflective writing;
  • to practice and discuss narrative medicine approaches, enhance students’ theoretical knowledge of and practical engagement with narrative medicine tools
  • to define reflective capacity and specifying ways of assessing it in written pieces
  • to deepen comfort with creativity and expression, while respecting ethical boundaries
  • to offer mentorship, support and discussion of narrative medicine projects

Target audience

Healthcare practitioners who have some experience with or interest in creative or reflective writing and narrative medicine.

 Schedule & Location (6 sessions, 2.5 hours each)

  • Session 1 – Wednesday, April 3, 2019 from 6-8:30pm – Room 211
  • Session 2 – Wednesday, April 17, 2019 from 6-8:30pm – Room 211
  • Session 3 – Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 6-8:30pm – Room 211
  • Session 4 – Wednesday, May 15, 2019 from 6-8:30pm  – Room 211
  • Session 5 – Wednesday, May 29, 2019 from 6-8:30pm  – Room 136
  • Session 6 – Wednesday, June 12, 2019 from 6-8:30pm – Room 211

Each session will be held in at the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre of St. Michael’s Hospital located at 209 Victoria Street, Toronto.

 Please arrive for 5:45pm, as the main doors of 209 Victoria Street lock at 6pm.

Attendance Policy

We are asking registrants to ensure they can attend at least 5 out of 6 sessions, since the program is short with only 6 total sessions and missing more may impact the learning experience.

If you cannot attend at least 5 sessions, please email Farah (FriesenF@smh.ca). A separate waitlist is being created for those who cannot attend at least 5 sessions.

If we do not have the maximum number of registrants, the waitlisted people will be added to the program with the understanding that they can attend less than 5, but we are giving registration precedence to those who can commit more fully. We instituted a similar attendance policy in our initial iteration last year and found that this helped group cohesion and comfort.

Additional Information

This is not a formally accredited program but it is a group learning activity as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Programs of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.


Please contact: Farah Friesen, Research & Program Coordinator, CFD

Full Details