Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 723–733 | Cite as

The impact of prompted narrative writing during internship on reflective practice: a qualitative study

  • Rachel B. LevineEmail author
  • David E. Kern
  • Scott M. Wright


Narrative writing has been used to promote reflection and increased self-awareness among physicians. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of prompted narrative writing on reflection. Thirty-two interns at 9 internal medicine residency programs participated in a year-long qualitative study about personal growth beginning in July of 2002. Interns wrote narratives every 8 weeks. At study completion, interns wrote a final narrative describing the affect that being in the study had on them. Responses were reviewed and organized into domains. Writing throughout the year resulted in reflection and encouraged interns to reconsider their core values and priorities. Some found that the exercise promoted greater self-awareness and provided an emotional outlet. Writing about difficult experiences coupled with reflection motivated some interns to want to improve. Prompted narrative writing led to reflection among interns and promoted self-awareness. Educators may consider incorporating narrative writing into residency education.


Graduate medical education Qualitative research methods Reflective writing 



Dr. Levine is the Society of General Internal Medicine’s, Mary O’Flaherty Horn Scholar in General Internal Medicine. Dr. Wright is an Arnold P. Gold Foundation Associate Professor of Medicine and a Miller-Coulson Family Scholar.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel B. Levine
    • 1
    Email author
  • David E. Kern
    • 1
  • Scott M. Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of General Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical CenterJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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