MED661JM.01 (Reno)
Narrative Medicine

Office of Medical Education

  • Course Name: Narrative Medicine
  • Short Name: MED661JM.01 Narrative Medicine
  • Course Number: MED661JM.01
  • Location: Reno
  • Department Contact: Susan Palwick
  • Type: Non-Clinical
  • Length: Longitudinal
  • Preceptor: Susan Palwick, Ph.D. UNR Department of English

Please contact the department to verify elective availability.


  • To develop “narrative competence” in dealing with patients.

Description of Rotation

Pioneered by Rita Charon, an internist and professor at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons, Narrative Medicine trains doctors and other caregivers to use careful listening and reflective writing to forge deeper connections with their patients, resulting in better care.

After reading several books introducing the subject of narrative medicine, the student will create a parallel chart, as described by Charon, about patients encountered in clinical rotations. The student will share the parallel chart and other reflective writing with Dr. Palwick, and will also work on at least one creative writing project (fiction, non-fiction, the essay, poetry) growing out of clinical encounters. Should multiple students enroll, a small writing workshop may be established.


Rita Charon, Narrative Medicine, and other works determined by instructors.

Evaluation Method

Students are required to complete all reading, writing, and meeting assignments.


  • Honors: An exceptional performance which exceeds all course objectives
  • High Pass: A performance which exceeds most course objectives
  • Pass: A performance which meets the course objectives
  • Fail: A performance which does not meet the course objectives

Special Notes

Can be applied toward Scholarly Concentration in Narrative Medicine.

The 80 hours are flexible over the year.