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Creative writing benefits healthcare professionals

It’s no secret that doctors suffer some of the highest rates of burnout of any profession, and most are aware of the practical advice for avoiding burnout even if they’re unable to implement it. Some Australian doctors, however, have found a ‘novel’ way to avoid burnout which can also bring some surprising additional benefits.

Australian author and clinician Melanie Cheng has found that creative writing helps her and many of her colleagues to exercise parts of their brain not often used in medicine, as well as to work through and process emotional issues brought up during practice. It also helps to foster empathy, which in turn makes for better communication with patients and better medical care.

Others involved in training medical professionals have brought writing exercises into their teaching, with remarkable positive effects on student learning and engagement. The hope is that this holistic approach can be mainstreamed in medical education, but the increasingly fast-tracked and transactional nature of tertiary education is making this difficult to achieve despite popular support.

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Source: ABC News