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Narratives in Clinical Practice: The essence of person centered care?

James Appleyard


From earliest times listening to a person’s story has been the essence of the patient-physician consultation. Evidence from the literature suggests that it is the core clinical skills of communication through questioning, delineating, interpreting, explaining and discerning meaning that provide a way of bringing together the very different perspectives of patients and health professionals.

These narrative skills facilitate an awareness of both health and disease and take into consideration the biological, social psychological, spiritual and pathophysiological dimensions. In this context the science of objective measurements can be successfully integrated with the art of clinical experience and judgment.


Empathy, ethical framework, evidence based medicine, clinical skills, integration, listening, narrative competence, person centered care.

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