The German Network for Narrative Medicine tries to combine approaches from literary studies and the arts with medical education and training, research and patient care. In Germany, the curricular implementation of the field “History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine” (GTE) was an important step in making humanistic methods and theories productive for a holistic understanding of medicine and disease. Literary and art-based approaches are used primarily in the context of poetry therapy and bibliotherapy. Narrative Medicine is distinct from these approaches in so far as it does not pursue a therapeutic approach but is oriented towards building and fostering professional competencies. In the field of medical studies and continuing education in health care, literary and artistic interventions have been underrepresented so far. The professorship for Medical Humanities at the Institute for the History of Medicine and Ethics in Medicine at the Charité in Berlin, which was established in 2015, is an important signal for a wider and more inclusive opening towards humanistic approaches in the field of “History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine.”
The German Network for Narrative Medicine explores possibilities and methods to integrate literature and art into medical education and research and provides a platform for the exchange of experiences, critical discussions and further developments.