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Literature & Medicine Resources

As well as familiarizing yourself with updated psychosocial articles, consider the use of literary classics for learning as these can facilitate individual reflection and group discussion on ethical issues of care and or human relationships. They can also inoculate you against cynicism about the profession.

Here are some seminal books on What it Means to be a Doctor and on how history has shaped our profession:

  • A Short History of Medicine - E. Ackerknecht
  • Histoire de medicine et la chirurgie de la grande peste à nos jours - P. Boussel
  • Stories of Sickness - H. Brody
  • The Healing Art: A Doctor's Black Bag of Poetry - R. Campo
  • Doctoring: The Nature of Primary Care Medicine - E.J. Cassell
  • The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine - E.J. Cassell
  • Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness - R. Charon
  • Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality - P.W. Chen
  • This Side of Doctoring: Reflections from Women in Medicine - E.L. Chin
  • The Call of Stories - R. Coles
  • Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance - A. Gawande
  • Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science - A. Gawande
  • Narrative Based Medicine: Dialogue and Discourse in Clinical Practice - T. Greenhalgh & B. Hurwitz
  • How Doctors Think - J. Groopman
  • The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness - J. Groopman
  • A History of Medicine - B. Inglis B
  • Medical Thinking: A Historical Preface - L.S. King
  • The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing and the Human Condition - A. Kleiman
  • Medicine: An Illustrated History - A.A. Lyons
  • Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab - C. Montross
  • Incidental Findings: Lessons from My Patients in the Art of Medicine - D. Ofri
  • Singular Intimacies: Becoming a Doctor at Bellevue - D. Ofri
  • On Doctoring: New, Revised and Expanded Third Edition - R. Reynolds R & J. Stone
  • Letters to a Young Doctor - R. Selzer
  • The Doctor Stories - R. Selzer
  • The Development of Modern Medicine: An Interpretation of the Social and Scientific Factors Involved - R. Shryock
  • Empathy and the Practice of Medicine: Beyond Pills and the Scalpel - H. Spiro, E. Peschel, M.G. Curnen & D. St James
  • Literature and Medicine: An Annotated Bibliography - J. Trautman & C. Pollard
  • Bedside Manners: One Doctor's Reflections on the Oddly Intimate Encounters Between Patient and Healer - D. Watts
  • The Doctor Stories - W.C. Williams & R. Coles

Journals of the Medical Arts and Humanities

Here are some journals that explore the medical arts:

  • Ars Medica. See:
  • Bellevue Literary Review. See:
  • The Healing Muse. See:
  • Literature and Medicine. See:


Films provide a great medium for sparking discussion and personal reflection about the work we do and how illness and medicine are perceived culturally.

Here are forty-two Classic Films/videos to Facilitate Group Discussion of Physician Identity and the Doctor-Patient Relationship:

  1. And the Band Played On
  2. Article 99
  3. Awakenings
  4. Breaking the Waves
  5. Celebration (Festen)
  6. The Citadel
  7. Cleo from 5:00-7:00
  8. Common Threads: Stories from the AIDS Quilt
  9. Dancer in the Dark
  10. Death of a Salesman
  11. Death Takes a Holiday
  12. The Doctor
  13. The Elephant Man
  14. Frances
  15. Happiness
  16. Hospital
  17. Ikira
  18. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
  19. Kingdom
  20. The Last Angry Man
  21. Lorenzo's Oil
  22. The Lost Weekend
  23. Magnificent Obsession
  24. Magnolia
  25. Marnie
  26. M*A*S*H
  27. Murmur of the Heart
  28. My Left Foot
  29. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  30. Ordinary People
  31. Philadelphia
  32. The Prince of Tides
  33. Resurrection
  34. Scenes from Silver Lake
  35. The Snake Pit
  36. Spellbound
  37. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  38. Sybil
  39. Terms of Endearment
  40. White Corridors
  41. Whose Life Is It Anyway?
  42. Wild Strawberries

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