Carmen’s story is an intimate narrative about a single clinical encounter from three simultaneous perspectives—those of a specialist oncologist, two attending medical students, and a newly referred patient (Carmen) with early-stage breast cancer. By using a combination of communication skills, intuition and mindfulness, the specialist doctor addresses Carmen’s distressed emotional state to assist in resolving her crisis. At the same time, the doctor engages with one of the attending medical students to demonstrate aspects of whole person care. Both the students, and Carmen, then use their own narratives to reflect upon the personal impact of the various encounters which they have witnessed and experienced.
KeywordsEmpathic communication Medical students Mindfulness
I am indebted to Ms. Carmen Simon for her resilience in allowing herself to be the subject of this story. I also acknowledge the bravery of Ms. Katherine Nguyen and Mr. Callum Barnes for making themselves vulnerable enough to contribute to Carmen’s story.
I thank Ms. Sue O’Reilly for helpful editorial comments, and Judy Cush for her secretarial expertise.
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