Volume 2022 Number 3
  • EISSN: 2223-506X


This paper will discuss the interdisciplinary approach of literature and medicine in light of the recent introduction of Narrative Medicine as a course at Fatima College of Health Sciences, Institute of Applied Technology, UAE. I proposed a Narrative Medicine course at Fatima College of Health Sciences (FCHS) which was accepted, and I currently teach and coordinate this course (which is also being taught at FCHS in Ajman and Al Ain). The course has been tailored to suit healthcare students in the field of nursing, psychology, radiography/imaging, paramedics, pharmacy and physiotherapy. This paper will examine the pedagogical approaches used to enhance the skills of creativity and close-reading and the application of these skills in medical contexts. More specifically, the paper will address the importance of using literature to teach the subjectivity of health-related experiences and the interconnectedness of literary frameworks to stories of illness—while taking into consideration the specific cultural context of the region. While the principles of Narrative Medicine of recognizing, absorbing, interpreting, and acting when hearing stories of illness may seem general and applicable to all contexts, it is essential to consider that the cultural context necessitates that these principles be applied with a sensitivity to both the cultural values of the region as well as its diversity and multiculturalism. The paper will focus on how these two sides are balanced while developing and teaching Narrative Medicine in the UAE. Drawing upon Susan Sontag’s (1990), the paper will use the example of “military metaphors” in relation to a patient’s experience with cancer, to show how the linguistic underpinnings of these metaphors and their implications can vary depending upon the cultural and social context of a clinical setting. While Sontag’s attack on cancer’s military metaphors may seem applicable to some Western contexts, the application of Sontag’s work in an Arab context must take into consideration the difference in cultural perspective on the concepts of acceptance, surrender, and fight in relation to illness and death.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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