Literature & Medicine

Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care® is a national award-winning reading and discussion program for health care professionals that, as one participant writes, “renews the heart and soul of health care.” Literature & Medicine discussions have helped health care professionals across the country improve their communication and interpersonal skills while increasing their cultural awareness, empathy for patients, and job satisfaction.

Why is Literature & Medicine important in New Jersey?

An innovative and cost-effective way to improve patient care, one hospital administrator summed up Literature & Medicine’s impact: “The reflection and conversation that takes place in the process greatly enhances the level of cooperation, collaboration, and esprit de corps within our hospital family and our community at large. The impetus in turn greatly improves the quality of care we provide to our patients and their families.” As our state’s population becomes increasingly diverse, healthcare workers can no longer rely on what they know from their own lives to understand their patients, who may be of a different religious, socio-economic or cultural background.

Literature gives healthcare workers the opportunity to see through another person’s eyes while the group discussion format helps break down the hierarchies among doctors, nurses and administrative staff in the hospital that can impede care. By helping healthcare workers at all levels better understand their patients and each other, Literature & Medicine improves the quality of healthcare in New Jersey. Since the program’s inception in New Jersey in 2005, numerous hospitals have taken part in Literature & Medicine, with the VA hospital joining in 2010 as part of a federally funded grant. NJCH is delighted to welcome Princeton Care Center to the Literature & Medicine family this year. The complete list of hospitals is below, with those who will be participating in 2015 in bold:

  • AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center—Atlantic City
  • The Cancer Institute of New Jersey—New Brunswick
  • Cooper University Hospital—Camden
  • Morristown Medical Center—Morristown
  • Mountainside Hospital—Montclair
  • Overlook Hospital—Summit
  • UMDNJ-NJMS (Creative Arts Healthcare)—Newark
  • VA New Jersey Health Care System—Lyons/East Orange
  • Daughters of Israel–West Orange
  • Princeton Care Center–Princeton

Outcomes

Evaluations show uniformly positive results for all five goals of the program: increased empathy for patients, greater cultural awareness, improved interpersonal relations, better communication and more job satisfaction. One participant remarked that Literature & Medicine has, “broadened my horizons to appreciate all the emotions/feelings involved in patient care and opened my eyes to other peoples’ points of view.” Participants in New Jersey in 2008 reported a significant increase in:

Empathy for patients Cultural awareness Job satisfaction Interpersonal relations Communication

For more information on this program and how your hospital or health care organization participate, please contact NJCH at 609.695.4838 or litandmed@njch.org

Online Chapbook of Poems about Healing

Download a chapbook of healing poems, thanks to CavanKerry Press! The poems included in the chapbook are listed below and deal directly with issues of healing, medicine, caregiving and illness. Download the Online Chapbook here.

From The Disheveled Bed by Andrea Carter Brown

From Elegy for the Floater by Teresa Carson

From Against Which by Ross Gay

From The Red Canoe by Joan Cusack Handler

From Life With Sam by Elizabeth Hall Hutner

From Little Boy Blue by Gray Jacobik

From Surviving Has Made Me Crazy by Mark Nepo

From Body of Diminishing Motion by Joan Seliger Sidney

From We Mad Climb Shaky Ladders by Pamela Spiro Wagner

From Fun Being Me by Jack Wiler

If you enjoyed these poems, please let us know! These events are being offered as part of Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care ® a national award-winning reading and discussion program for health care professionals that, as one participant writes, “renews the heart and soul of health care.” Literature & Medicine discussions have helped health care professionals across the country improve their communication and interpersonal skills while increasing their cultural awareness, empathy for patients, and job satisfaction. For more information on this program and how your hospital or health care organization participate, please contact NJCH at 609.695.4838 or LitandMed@njch.org  

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