Most health professionals have probably now heard of narrative medicine. It focuses on the central role of stories in medicine and the need to pay close attention to them. Narrative-based practice is part of narrative medicine. It places a special emphasis on the use of narrative skills in everyday work in health care, and on training, especially for patient consultations and supervision.
Two new papers highlight the core approach of narrative-based practice. Writing in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, John Launer proposes that doctors should replace the concept of history-taking with the idea of ‘listening to the story.’ In another paper, for the British Journal of General Practice, Maria Victoria Bovo and John Launer describe a remarkable conversation they had when John was teaching ‘Conversations Inviting Change’ in Milan.