Narrative in End-of-Life Care: Tools for Communication and Compassionate Care

October 5 and November 2, 2024, 9am-12 ET
Two-Part Online Workshop


There is growing appreciation for the application of narrative medicine to address issues related to palliative, end-of-life, and critical care, especially around communication with patients and families and clinician resiliency. Narrative medicine and end-of-life care share many common goals: making patient care more equitable, centering the voices of patients and families, relieving suffering, and bearing witness to the human condition.

Drawing upon methods and concepts from the field of narrative-based medicine, this workshop will explore two inter-connected themes: the care of patients and clinician well-being.

Grounded in the emergent field of narrative palliative care, participants will engage in guided reading, writing exercises, and group discussion while developing skills in interpretation, empathy, and reflection. Narrative methods offer powerful tools for promoting clinical communication and clinician resilience. By honing these key skills, learners will also develop an enhanced ability to cope with the stress of cumulative losses experienced in practice.

Ultimately, learners will learn how to identify and interpret their own emotional responses in end-of-life care and how to better navigate the relational challenges of day-to-day practice.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Explain the use of narrative to explore themes of end-of-life care
  • Demonstrate the use of narrative to address professional loss and promote clinician well-being
  • Describe key pedagogical resources and activities that address themes in end- of-life care

Target Audience

This workshop is geared towards healthcare providers, chaplains, social workers, therapists, educators, patient and family advocates, and all those interested in the intersection of end-of-life care and narrative-based medicine.

For healthcare providers, the workshop content will resonate with those working in primary palliative care, specialist palliative care, oncology, critical care, gerontology and other contexts where one encounters end-of-life care or loss.

Session Dates & Times

The two-part format allows learners to apply their learning in practice. There will be opportunities to debrief on the applications of narrative methods during the second session.

Session dates and times:

  • Saturday, October 5, 2024 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET
  • Saturday, November 2, 2024 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm ET


Miriam Colleran

Miriam Colleran is a consultant in palliative medicine in Ireland and has worked in specialist palliative care for over 20 years. She works as part of the interdisciplinary adult specialist palliative care team providing inpatient and community care in St. Brigid’s Hospice and in Naas General Hospital. Furthermore — in keeping with specialist palliative care practice in Ireland — she works as part of networks including family physicians, primary care, hospital paediatricians, and children’s palliative care teams to provide integrated, collaborative care for children with specialist palliative care needs living at home in the community.

Miriam is keenly interested in providing individualised, evidence-informed, and person-centred palliative care to both patients and their close circle. She has published and presented widely on providing compassionate palliative and end of life care. Her publications have appeared, or are forthcoming, in titles including Inclusive Education and Lifelong Learning: Volume 1 (Infonomics Society) and The Perfect Doctor (Pager Publications).

Her interests lie in narrative-based medicine in medical education, compassionate healthcare communication, the lived experience of serious illness, and coping with grief, loss and bereavement. She has also published poetry on grief and loss in a venues such as Sparks of Calliope, The Afterpast Review, and Pocket Fiction.

Miriam is also the first-ever graduate of the NBM Lab’s Advanced Certificate in Narrative-Based Medicine.

To learn more about Miriam’s professional journey and path towards narrative-based medicine, check out this conversation conducted with our program leads.

Karen Gold

Karen Gold is the Curriculum Lead at the Narrative-Based Medicine Lab where she co-teaches the Foundational Certificate and facilitates a series on Narrative Approaches to Resilience.

She has 25+ years as a clinical social worker, providing psychosocial support to patients and families in outpatient counseling and medical settings. As a hospital-based educator, she supervised and taught a wide range of health professional learners.

Karen earned a PhD from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Her dissertation explored reflective and creative writing by healthcare practitioners through a relational lens. She has done narrative medicine training at Columbia University, and is a certified writing workshop leader. She has published and presented on health humanities and narrative pedagogy, including accounts of professional loss.

Karen is currently a Registered Social Worker in practice in Toronto.


The program fee is $525 CAD plus 13% HST.

All amounts are in Canadian Dollars (CAD $) and are subject to 13% HST.


Cancellations will be accepted until September 28, 2024 and are subject to a processing fee of $60 plus applicable taxes. Refunds will not be processed after this date.

Requests for cancellation must be made in writing to .

Registrations are not transferable.

The University of Toronto reserves the right to cancel events. Registrants will be notified at the earliest possible date in the event of a cancellation. Registration fees for events cancelled by the University will be refunded; however, the University will not be liable for any loss, damages or other expenses that such cancellations may cause.


Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME), a subcommittee of the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS). This standard allows CPD to review and assess educational activities based on the criteria established by The College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College) has established agreements with each of the American Medical Association (AMA), and the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME®) where activities approved for Royal College MOC Credits are eligible for conversion to AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ and UEMS-EACCME European CME Credit (ECMEC®) credits, respectively.