In a medical culture that values technical prowess and the ability to make complex clinical decisions, personal reflection can help physicians cultivate their inner lives, emotions, and spirituality. Residents in a family medicine residency training program were given a protected 15-minute slot in their schedules to write reflections about their experiences with patients. They were not given specific writing prompts and did not submit their reflections for grading or response. Their writings described their struggles and joys in treating patients, goals for the future, and the search for meaning in their experiences. A focus on developing inner lives, the authors suggest, allows for the integration of the physician as both a professional and a person.
Cultivating the Inner Life of a Physician through Written Reflection
Andrea Vicini, SJ, MD, PhD, et al, Boston College