Application of narrative medicine in oncological clinical practice: health care professional

Pubblicato l’articolo sullo studio IMPERO, condotto presso l’IFO-Regina Elena, finalizzato ad esplorare l’impatto sul vissuto personale degli operatori sanitari di un nuovo approccio clinico-metodologico legato all’uso di un diario narrativo digitale nella raccolta e integrazione della narrazione tematica nella pratica clinica.

L’articolo su PubMed a firma di:

U. Zocher, I. Bertazzi, E. Colella, A. Fabi, V. Scarinci, A. Franceschini, C. Cenci, F. Cognetti, M.C. Cercato


INTRODUCTION: Narrative medicine makes explicit the experience of disease and enhances the subjective view in the cure. In addition, the narrative approach involves personal experience and emotional resonances of the health care professional leading him to redefine the values in terms of health and disease. The IMPERO study aims to explore the personal “life experience” of health care professionals involved in studies exploring a new methodological clinical approach: the use of a digital narrative diary in collecting and integrating theme-oriented narration in clinical practice.


METHODS: Qualitative study based on the interviews of three health care professionals (two oncologists and one nurse) involved in the AMENO study. The main topic of the interviews was the “perceived” and the intimate experience of each health care professional, particularly on the meaning and the role regarding their personal and professional experience while coping with patients narration. The analysis of data focuses on three aspects: a) the health care professionals’ point of view using the diary as a tool for narrative-based medicine; b) the work environment as a framework for the use of the digital diary; c) the mental construction concerning the meaning of the tool and its preliminary use in clinical practice.


RESULTS: The diary is appreciate as a tool for the application of narrative-based medicine; the reading/writing format is considered of high quality and suitable for clinical practice processes. The narration drives a change in the patient-health care professional relationship: the patient is valued as an “individual”. An atmosphere of empathy and greater intimacy is created. The perceptions developed over the years of clinical practice, which reflect personal and professional concepts (knowledge and individual believes in illness, health, healing, etc.), influence the perception of the narrative instrument and its clinical use. The work context influences the use of the diary, limiting its potential. Narrative medicine is a way of reorganizing the criteria that contribute in defining the quality of patient care by focusing on the patient-health care professional relationship.


DISCUSSION: The approach of narrative medicine must be reviewed in the light of the relational systemic theory which allows us to understand several aspects: the training in narrative medicine itself, the acquisition of professional skills by practitioners, and the organizational development of the institutions (the organizational structures but also the values and professional culture of work).

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