Advisor: Anne Hudson Jones,Ph.D.
Dissertation Title: Literature and Medicine and Narrative Medicine:
a Distinction between Terms
Current Position and Address:
Coordinator, Vesalius Living and Learning Community
Assistant Professor, English Department
2100 Memorial Blvd.
Kerrville, TX 78028
Krisann Muskievicz graduated with a Ph.D. in Medical Humanities on the last day of the summer 2012 term. The title of her dissertation is Literature and Medicine and Narrative Medicine: a Distinction between Terms. Her committee members were: Anne Hudson Jones, Ph.D. (Chair), Steve Lieberman, M.D., Catherine Belling, Ph.D., Howard Brody, M.D., Ph.D., and Ronald Carson, Ph.D. Krisann joined the Medical Humanities Graduate Program in 2004. She came to us with a B.S. in English Education from the University of Illinois and an M.A. in Humanities from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Dr. Muskievicz is currently employed as the Coordinator of the Vesalius Living and Learning Community and a Assistant Professor in the English Department at Schreiner University, Kerrville, TX.
Summary of Dr. Muskievicz's Dissertation:
The terms literature and medicine and narrative medicine are often used interchangeably to describe story-based study in medicine and medical education. In this dissertation, I explore distinctions between literature and medicine and narrative medicine and assert that a conflation of these terms is inaccurate. I discuss the legacy of the medical humanities in medical education and examine literature and medicine as a sub-specialty. I then investigate narrative medicine as an outgrowth of literature and medicine, analyzing Rita Charon’s coining of the term narrative medicine and her efforts to separate narrative medicine from literature and medicine. Evaluating the popularity of narrative medicine as well as the project’s potential to surpass literature and medicine, I ultimately arrive at four conclusions: First, narrative medicine seeks an alignment with clinical practice in a way that literature and medicine does not. Second, narrative medicine, in core practice, focuses on the physician-writer. Literature and medicine, on the other hand, incorporates more diverse scholarship. Third, by encouraging the clinician as occasional-writer, the culture of narrative medicine does not adequately emphasize privacy concerns. Internet and social networking sites aiming to promote informal examples of narrative medicine also provide unchecked outlets for content that may violate patient confidentiality. Literature and medicine incorporates a peer-review process that ensures academic rigor but also leads to less democratic participation. And, finally, the clinical nomenclature of narrative medicine implies that its implementation may lead to measurable outcomes in a way that literature and medicine does not.