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This year, the doctors behind the successful annual dotMD conference decided to run a novel educational event based entirely on medical story-telling called ‘Bedside Stories — Tales From The Heart of Medicine’. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Galway’s Mick Lally Theatre, home of the Druid Theatre Company. But after the tickets for the meeting sold out in less than 24 hours, the organisers decided to relocate to the larger An Taibhdhearc Theatre in Galway.
The meeting is being organised by the three Galway-based doctors responsible for dotMD (Dr Ronan Kavanagh, Dr Muiris Houston and Dr Alan Coss) and Dr Paul Reynolds, a psychiatrist based in Limerick, an accomplished story-teller himself.
“The reason we decided to run the event was based on the success of a story-telling session at dotMD in 2017,” according to Dr Kavanagh. “We sensed, based on some very positive feedback from a medical story-telling session at dotMD this year, that there was a hunger among doctors for this kind of activity. We’re still a bit overwhelmed at the level of interest, to be honest.”
Whereas the emphasis on evidence-based practice, outcomes, and technology has resulted in significant improvements in medicine, there is a sense among many that as a result, the narrative richness of medicine is being lost, he said. The organisers of Bedside Stories believe that stories may assist in providing the narrative ‘glue’ that helps make sense of medicine’s complexities and uncertainties. They also believe that an emphasis on stories may help maintain a sense of humanity and a sense of what is important in healthcare.
Their aim is to develop a series of events celebrating the art of story-telling in medicine, but also to use the sharing of those stories to help develop a sense of community and reduce feelings of isolation and burnout among story-tellers and their listeners.
The December event will include stories from GPs Dr Pat Harold and Dr Brian Jordan; obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Siobhán Corcoran; anaesthetist Dr Siobhán Grimes; sports physician Dr Aideen Henry; public health physician Dr Steve Martin; with contributions from Dr Kavanagh and Dr Houston. Music will be provided by Peter Broderick and CME has been applied for.
Bedside Stories — Tales From The Heart of Medicine will take place at 7.30pm on Friday, 1 December 2018. The meeting is limited to healthcare professionals.