Here’s a selection of sites and publications that AJN readers interested in narrative and poetry (particularly as it relates to health care) and in well-crafted writing might find worth a visit.
The Nieman Narrative Digest, a biweekly “compendium of narrative journalism” moderated by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, presents often unusual, always riveting stories. Health care–related pieces are regularly featured. One recent selection, “Fixing Mr. Fix-It” from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, describes the rehabilitation of a truck mechanic whose arms were severed in a terrible accident. Another, “Waiting for Death, Alone and Unafraid” from the Los Angeles Times, profiles a 90-year-old suicide prevention expert as he nears the end of his life. Readers interested in writing may find the site’s essays on craft useful.
The journal Creative Nonfiction, published triannually, has been around since 1994, offering a sampling of essays on everything from baseball to what it was like to grow up in Pittsburgh. Some issues have had health care–related themes: for example, Silence Kills (issue 33, 2007) looks at the ways communication failures affect health care. The current issue, First Lede, Real Lede (issue 36, 2009), considers how an essay’s first paragraphs work to draw readers in.
The Bellevue Literary Review, published biannually since 2001 by the Department of Medicine at New York University, publishes both poetry and prose; it seeks to be “a journal of humanity and human experience.” Nurses Cortney Davis and Madeleine Mysko (who currently coordinates AJN’s Reflections) are among those whose work it has featured. An anthology, The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review, was published last year; a free study guide aimed at medical and nursing students, health care professionals, and anyone interested in illness and narrative is available.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts on AJN‘s Art of Nursing and Reflections —regular departments that have featured essays, stories, and poems, as well as visual art, by both new and renowned contributors.
—Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor