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Narrative Medicine

About Narrative Medicine

Narrative medicine is a growing field of research and education. The vision is that narrative medicine becomes an integral part of the Danish healthcare system with University of Southern Denmark as the leading site for development of innovative forms of health promotion, diagnostics, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care, education activities as well as international research collaboration and network.

Narrative medicine thus aims to be a crucial contribution to answering the complex societal challenges in the development of a person-centered healthcare system.

We have focus on the following research questions:

- How can narrative medicine strengthen healthcare professionals’ competencies for understanding, thinking about, communicating and acting on behalf of patients’ illnesses and citizens’ health-related narratives?

- How can narrative medicine help strengthen the competencies of patients, relatives and citizens in order to manage health challenges, illness, rehabilitation and palliative care?

Based on international research, the thesis in our work is that a narrative competence can strengthen healthcare professionals’ empathy, social and cultural understanding of patients and relatives. A narrative competence encompasses an attention to storytelling and use of language, including illness metaphors. The ambition is to investigate whether narrative medicine can also contribute to strengthening the quality of life and sense of meaning for patients, relatives and citizens in relation to rehabilitation and health promotion.

Narrative medicine is carried out in a interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from the humanities and health sciences at SDU and Odense University Hospital, and is based on strong relationships with international research environments; particularly Columbia Narrative Medicine ved Columbia University (US), Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society ved University of Liverpool (UK) and Birgit Rausing Centrum för Medicinsk Humaniora ved Lunds Universitet (SE)



The research group in Center for Uses of Literature, Department for the Study of Culture


Columbia Narrative Medicine at Columbia University


Last Updated 06.10.2023