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Medical Writings |

Stevie Smith: The Caregiver-Poet

Chris MacKnight, MD, FRCPC
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Dalhousie University; Halifax, Nova Scotia; B3H 2E1 Canada Grant Support: Dr. MacKnight is supported by Dalhousie University's Internal Medicine Research Foundation. Requests for Reprints: Chris MacKnight, MD, FRCPC, Division of Geriatric Medicine, First Floor. Camp Hill Veterans' Memorial Building, 5955 Jubilee Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 2E1 Canada.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1998;128(9):788-790. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-128-9-199805010-00045
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Caregivers are crucial to the practice of geriatric medicine (and, therefore, to the practice of internal medicine). In addition to being allies for the physician, they are often all that stands between the patient and the nursing home. If caregivers are to receive appropriate support, some understanding of their position and need for respite is required. The writings of Stevie Smith, a mid-20th century English poet, admirably voice all aspects of caregiving. Although Smith first published in 1936, she did not become popular until the 1950s and 1960s. During her heyday, she combined her position as a respected poet with one as an informal, unpaid caregiver. Her dual roles did not prevent success; she received the Queen's Medal for Poetry in 1969, 2 years before her death in 1971.

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