Fostering Narrative Competence

Reflective and Creative Writing for Clinicians and Educators

Program Overview

The art of telling - and listening to - stories is fundamental to what it means to be human. Storytelling is a craft that can be developed with practice. Through attentive reading and directed writing, each of us can develop our own individual style and our unique voice in the writing genre of our choice.

Narrative medicine, both in medical practice and education, is practiced with a focus on the skills of communication and collaboration which are essential to positive health outcomes. Learning how to write and reflect on narratives will give you a powerful ability to build therapeutic and collegial relationships, improve patient outcomes, and live and work in a more reflective and engaged way.

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.).

Fostering Narrative Competence is intended to nurture and aid health care practitioners who wish to devote time and attention to their reading and writing but lack the support of an engaged creative community to support their efforts.

Registration for the 2018/2019 Fostering Narrative Competence Program will open soon. There will be a $500 fee. A maximum of 15 participants will be accepted into the program on a first come-first serve basis.



Learning Objectives

  1. Become familiar with methods of close reading
  2. Enhance written communication through reviewing and discussing key elements of composition and storytelling
  3. Define reflective capacity and specify ways of assessing it in written pieces
  4. Define and enhance narrative competence in the context of clinical practice
  5. Increase comfort with creativity and expression

Lead Facilitator

Damian Tarnopolsky is the author of two books: the novel Goya’s Dog, a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the First Novel Award, and the short fiction collection Lanzmann and Other Stories, which was nominated for the ReLit Award. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto and has taught writing and literature at the School of Continuing Studies and Humber College. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Walrus, Atlantic Books Today, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Review of Books (where he is also Managing Editor), and he is the proprietor of Slingsby and Dixon, an editorial services company in Toronto. He was most recently the Barbara Moon Fellow at Massey College, where he taught writing and reflection to medical students.

Schedule & Location

Each session will be at Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre located at 209 Victoria Street.

More 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.

A certificate of completion will be offered to those who attend 6 out of 8 sessions.


Please contact:

Amy Dionne, MEd
Executive Manager, Academic Development & Operations, Centre for Faculty Development
Email Amy