Healing, the Patient Narrative-Story and the Medical Practitioner: A Relationship to Enhance Care for the Chronically Ill Patient

  • Richard Hovey University of Calgary
  • Jim Paul University of Calgary


Patient–health care practitioner communication is riddled with complexities. In this article the authors initially describe how careful listening to another, the patient, within the context of today’s health care system has drifted from being an integral part of the “art” of medicine toward a methodological checklist of standard questions designed to support the “science” of medicine. Then they offer a way and a means for today’s biomedically trained health care practitioner to rethink or reimagine the value of authentic listening. They conclude with a critical exploration of a pedagogic speaking-listening relationship located within an understanding of dialogue as a means of gaining health-related, patient-specific evidence. By attending to a patient’s story through the health care practitioner’s attentive listening, the health care practitioner together with the patient create a place whereby a dialogue exchange actually becomes an indispensable and health-related element fostering a process of mutual learning, knowing, and being.

Author Biographies

Richard Hovey, University of Calgary
Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
Jim Paul, University of Calgary
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada