The marriage of evidence and narrative: scientific nurturance within clinical practice
Article first published online: 10 NOV 2010
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Special Issue: Evidence Based Medicine
Volume 17, Issue 4, pages 585–593, August 2011
How to Cite
Silva, S. A., Charon, R. and Wyer, P. C. (2011), The marriage of evidence and narrative: scientific nurturance within clinical practice. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 17: 585–593. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2010.01551.x
- Issue published online: 27 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 10 NOV 2010
- Accepted for publication: 20 July 2010
- evidence-based medicine;
- knowledge translation;
- narrative medicine;
- problem delineation
Rationale, aims and objectives Published elaborations of evidence-based medicine (EBM) have failed to materially integrate the domains of interpersonal sensibility and relationship with tools intended to facilitate attention to biomedical research and knowledge within clinical practice. Furthermore, the elaboration of EBM skills has been confined to a narrow range of clinical research. As a result, crucial tools required to connect much clinically relevant research and practice remain hidden, and explorations of the deeper challenges faced by practitioners in their struggle to integrate sound science and shared clinical action remain elusive.
Methods We developed a model for scientifically informed, individualized, medical practice and learning that embraces the goals, resources and skills of EBM within a larger framework of practice defined by narrative process: ‘attention’, ‘representation’ and ‘affiliation’. We drew from published elaborations of EBM, narrative medicine (NM) and the results of a project to develop tools for assessment of the cognitive skills embedded within a practice based EBM domain.
Results Within the resulting model, a tool of representation, whose components are Problem delineation, Actions, Choices and Targets, enables the clinical problem to be delineated and the patient and practitioner perspectives to be concretely defined with reference to four classes of clinical interaction: ‘therapy’, ‘diagnosis’, ‘prognosis’ and ‘harm’. As a result, the ‘information literacy’ skills required to access, evaluate and apply clinical research using electronic resources are well defined but subordinated to shared appreciation of patient need. The model acknowledges the relevance of the full range and scope of scientifically derived medical knowledge.
Conclusion A model based on integration of NM and EBM can lead to instructional tools that integrate clinical epidemiological knowledge with enforced consideration of differing patient and practitioner perspectives. It also may inform avenues for qualitative research into the processes through which such differing perspectives can be productively identified and shared.