This April and May, CavanKerry Press and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities are again co-sponsoring a series of “Poetry Heals” workshops for healthcare professionals. The objectives for these workshops are to:
- Increase empathy for patients by helping healthcare providers better understand another person’s experience through poetry.
- Provide a meaningful communal experience for healthcare providers.
- Decrease stress of healthcare providers by giving them a tool to articulate their work-related experiences, particularly their emotional experiences.
- Use the humanities to sharpen critical thinking skills.
Teresa Carson started off the series on April 4th with a workshop for students and faculty from Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
The following is a poem written by the participants. The group wish to remain anonymous.
Walking Cooper Camden
(For a medical student in 2163)
Walk the corridor on the north end
Teams coming together, gathering over subjective and objective data flow
As you approach the door, hear the excited voices
Look at the toes peeking out from under the sheet
In the operating suite neurosurgeons rewire an injured spine
Listen to the siren outside
People from all walks of life
Rustling, bustling, shuffling papers
There at the entrance, a row of coats, hanging after a busy day
Listen to the steady rhythm of her wheezing
Remind yourself to listen closely
Cardiac surgeons transplant a bovine heart into a patient with heart failure
Listen to the voice of the patient in the room
Some look scared, some look calm
Remember that the person under the sheet
When you pass the nurses’ station, talk
Infernal cadence of beeping alarms
Oncologists infuse immune serum into patients’ cancers
Watches your every move with desperate and expectant eyes
When you reach the end walk back and do it again
And the day begins again at 5am
Smell food from the cart
don’t eat it.