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Izvestia Journal of the Union of Scientists - Varna. Medicine and Ecology Series

Protocols and plots of narrative medicine

Desislava Vankova, Galina Goncharova


Narrative medicine is a relatively new interdisciplinary field that draws conceptual connections and practical relationships between biomedicine, based on rational principles and confirmed experimental evidence, and humanitarian knowledge, addressing the symbolic and linguistic reality of human experience.

The aim of this publication is to raise awareness of narrative medicine as part of the modern developments of medical science and practice. Its initial steps are traced, the principles that define the protocols related to narrative care are marked, and the benefits for all participants in the healing process are presented.


As Charon defined it, narrative medicine is an intellectual and clinical discipline practiced with the competence to “recognize, assimilate, interpret, and be moved by the stories of illness” to prompt actions that promote individual and public health. The seven principles of narrative medicine which underline the protocols are the 7 Cs by Launer: Conversations; Curiosity; Context; Complexity; Challenge; Caution; Care.


Historically, the first steps are associated with the course for narrative skills in medicine held in Great Britain in 1994. The Columbia University in New York was accepted as the first academic center, which since 2000 has initiated seminars on narrative medicine and in 2009 announced the first Master’s program in the field.


In conclusion, the benefits of narrative medicine do not need laboratory evidence and are related to the inherent therapeutic impact of the feeling of being heard. Narrative medicine is a revival and a natural continuation of the human value of medicine to heal, help, and save. In Bulgaria narrative medicine is a comparatively new research and application territory.


narrative medicine, social medicine, narratives, physician-patient relationship, narrative competencies, Bulgaria

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