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Writing and medicine

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2013 - Spring


The Internal Medicine Writers’ Workshop was a big draw for me when I was interviewing for residency [“Writers’ Workshop Celebrates 10 Years,” Yale Medicine Online, Winter 2013].

I was an English major in college and I started to write stories about my experiences with patients during my third year of medical school. I began writing, and still do so, primarily as an outlet for the stresses of life in medicine. The first story I wrote was about an experience I had in med school taking care of a young woman who lost a baby during her second trimester. I write because the patients that we see every day—and their stories—are important. The Writers’ Workshop has been the perfect outlet for me to share these stories. In the workshop, I have seen emotions and passions in my coworkers and friends that I had not witnessed while working side-by-side with them for 80 hours a week for the past few years. It’s a safe environment where we can share thoughts and feelings without the pressured constraints of daily clinical life. Through my participation in the Writers’ Workshop, I have been reminded of why I went into medicine—the interpersonal relationships, the ability to help heal others, sometimes simply by listening.

I am so thankful that we have the Writers’ Workshop. It has helped to make me a more empathetic and well-rounded physician, and has made a major impact on me during these formative years in my training.

Paul Fiorilli, M.D.
Department of Medicine
Yale-New Haven Hospital