Serial Interdisciplinary Write-Read-Reflect Narrative Experiences to Meaningfully Strengthen Reflective Listening Skills

The Narrative Initiative and St. Luke’s University Health Network


“Enhancing listening and communication skills” is a crucial component of hospice and palliative medicine staff core competencies, in order to successfully provide care that providers, patients, and families perceive as “good care.” St. Lukes University Health Network (SLUHN) asked themselves, “How do we learn and practice robust reflective listening skills that can be immediately put into practice to improve the patient-provider/provider-colleague experience?”

To solve for this, SLUHN conducted an interdisciplinary IRB-approved study employing a series of Write-Read-Reflect narrative experiences to the curriculums for residents/fellows of HPM, Pastoral Care, and Psychiatry programs (through The Narrative Initiative). Using their own short stories on a series of advancing topics, they learned and practiced selecting and reflecting specific words that rapidly open up a conversation to determine what is important. They reported planning to make behavioral changes in what to listen for with patients and colleagues. Other reported benefits included decompression and enhanced resilience.

Project Team

Lorraine A. Dickey, MD, MBA, FAAP
The Narrative Initiative, LLC
[email protected]

Erin Bendas, DO
St. Luke’s University Health Network

Nicole Defenbaugh, PhD
St. Luke’s University Health Network

Michael Pipestone, MD
St. Luke’s University Health Network


Silver Winner


Building Skills Among Nonpalliative Care Specialties and Disciplines