Using storytelling to
transform healthcare

Narrative-based medicine is premised on the understanding that, knowingly and unknowingly, practitioners and patients together construct narratives over the course of their encounters; that these stories – with their multiple characters, conflicts and desires, subtleties and miscommunications – affect the nature and meaning of health events in all our lives; and that getting better at working with stories of all kinds has a powerful impact on both patient care and clinician fulfillment.

Jointly led by an expert in narrative-based medicine and an accomplished writer, both of whom have extensive experience working with health professionals, this intensive program is taught in two parts: NBM Principles and Practices focuses on the theory and practice of narrative-based medicine while Writing and Narrative Craft seeks to improve learners’ creative and reflective skills as writers and readers.

The program is Canada’s only virtual intensive certificate program in narrative-based clinical practice. Domestic and international learners across all disciplines are welcome.

Target Audience

Healthcare practitioners from all clinical fields and disciplines; artists interested in learning about NBM; clinicians or educators interested in bringing narrative into their work; scholars interested in the intersection of creative writing and healthcare; those working in health communications, policy or advocacy. Writers at every level are welcome.

Program Dates 2023 - 2024

The Winter 2024 cohort starts on January 12, and will run for 8 sessions. Sessions will be held on Fridays from 10am to 12:30pm ET (3pm to 5:30pm GMT).

The Spring 2024 cohort starts on March 6, and will run for 8 sessions. Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 6pm to 8:30pm (ET).

Fall 2023

Wednesdays from 6pm to 8:30pm (ET)

  • October 18
  • November 1
  • November 15
  • November 29
  • January 10
  • January 24
  • February 7
  • February 21

Winter 2024

Fridays from 10am to 12:30pm (ET)

  • January 12
  • January 26
  • February 9
  • February 23
  • March 8
  • March 22
  • April 5
  • April 19

Spring 2024

Wednesdays from 6pm to 8:30pm (ET)

  • March 6
  • March 20
  • April 3
  • April 17
  • May 1
  • May 15
  • May 29
  • June 12

March-June Registration

Program Goals

  • Enhance reflective capacity, narrative competence, critical thinking and visual literacy in clinical care.
  • Improve the quality and experience of relationship-centred care for patients, families and providers through an examined, collaborative use of story.
  • Utilize a narrative approach to help clarify issues of power differentials, the hidden curriculum, ethical dilemmas and clinician moral distress & well-being, and resilience while enhancing team-building and collaboration.

Learning Objectives

After active engagement in the program, learners will be better able to:

  • Understand introductory theory and concepts of narrative-based medicine
  • Identify narrative-based medicine strategies for day-to-day healthcare contexts and clinical training
  • Demonstrate enhanced craftsmanship in reflective and creative writing, achieved through writing exercises, lectures, and discussion
  • Attend and respond to narrative pieces more completely via close reading and discussion of health-related and other published works in a variety of genres
  • Listen attentively and provide respectful responses to shared participant work
  • Build a supportive community of practice to foster person-centered practice, self-reflection, and resiliency

Program Testimonials

  • "I found the course deeply affirming in ways that I had not quite expected. It truly helped me with the overwhelm and burnout of clinical work and personal loss during challenging times. The witnessing, and honouring of emotional and psychological need within this course really counteracted for me, some of the profound moral distress that was weighing me down. I really needed this unspoken confirmation that within medicine, actual people and their psychological health, matter. I hadn’t expected the course to be so therapeutic! I really want to thank you for providing the type of safe and sacred space that you did for all of us."
  • "I loved the materials, there are so many wonderful pieces curated here and the guest speakers were wonderful."
  • "Mind expanding, mind opening, attitude adjusting"
  • "I would recommend this course with high praise. Damian and Karen set the tone for a collaborative, supportive forum for us all."
  • "A breath of fresh air! Changes the way I relate to patients, art, and anything written."
  • "I loved the practical element. To 'force' writing through writing exercises, to immerse us in close reading - to get us to perform the acts associated with NBM. I personally feel that it is through the 'doing' that I learned most."