Meghan Treitz,University of Colorado,Aurora,CO; Janice Hanson,University of Colorado,,; J. Lindsey Lane,University of Colorado,,; Jennifer B. Soep,University of Colorado,,; Daniel Weinshenker,StoryCenter,,; Thanakom (TJ) Jirasevijinda,Weil Cornell Medical College,,


While reflective writing is a common practice in medical schools, varied strategies are needed to encourage and incorporate reflection in ways that successfully engage students who may be reluctant to write.

  • Describe the importance of storytelling in medicine / medical education
  • Describe use of a visual medium for reflection
  • List structures that can be used for reflection
  • Produce a simple digital story

Methods and Content:

Storytelling makes us human.  As educators and health care professionals, we experience and share stories in many ways, from the disease narratives of our patients to the stories we share of our experiences, lessons learned, and changes we hope to make.  Reflective practices are becoming the norm in medicine and education, as we use stories to learn and grow, to find meaning in our careers, and to grapple with difficult issues.  As educators, we know that storytelling creates an emotional connection; it can provide a context for learning, a basis for reflection, and a starting point for deeper discussion.     


Through this workshop, participants will reflect on the importance of storytelling in medical education and learn about tools that can be used for self-reflection or for working with learners.  At the beginning of the workshop, a prompt for eliciting stories about experiences in medical education will help participants identify a personal story that they will explore in three ways.  The first portion of the workshop will focus on visual expression of a story – because not all stories need to be written.  The second portion will consider the written word, with reflection by each participant and time to share short stories in small groups. We will include a discussion about writing structures to encourage even the reluctant writer. The final portion of the workshop will focus on the use of technology for reflection. This will be illustrated by showing 2-3 short digital stories created by pediatric providers.  Participants will learn some basic technology and background, then create a rudimentary personal digital story using a simple open access program.   Participants are encouraged to bring their own device (laptop or tablet).


TIMELINE:  Introduction (10 min), choosing a story (10 min), intro to first activity (5 min), visual expression activity (30 min), structures for writers (10 min), written story activity (30 min), pair-share (20 min), break (20 min), intro to digital storytelling (5 min), story time (10 min), creating a digital story (60 min), group sharing (10 min), plan for action (20 min).