Literature and Medicine

Humanities at the Heart of Health Care

Literature and Medicine

Humanities at the Heart of Health Care

Literature and Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care is about sharing stories — those of published authors as well as our own.

With dynamic, monthly, facilitated book discussions, health care workers use literature to illuminate issues central to caring for people — well, sick, or dying.

nurse-pic-2The Vermont Humanities Council brought this innovative health care program to Vermont in 2003. Literature and Medicine began at the Maine Humanities Council and has since gone nationwide, including reaching fourteen Veterans Administration Hospitals across the country.

Health care workers in Vermont hospitals meet monthly — sharing stories that explore issues of whole people, not just sick bodies, and how health care affects lives beyond the hospital doors.

Literature and Medicine

  • a monthly reading and discussion program for hospital workers and allied staff, facilitated by professionals
  • expands perspectives and promotes awareness of cultural backgrounds, resulting in care that is patient-centered, humane, and holistic
  • enhances relationships, increasing respect and understanding among co-workers, preventing burnout, and improving patient care
  • an opportunity to listen, share, and reflect, using the powerful medium of story

Active at Three Vermont Hospitals

A Sampling of Literature and Medicine Books

  • Locked In: The Will to Survive and the Resolve to Live by Victoria Arlen
  • Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast
  • The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Keirnan
  • The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Keirnan
  • Fast Falls of the Night by Julia Keller
  • Kill as Few Patients as Possible by Oscar London
  • That’s What She Said by Joanne Lipman