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Call for Writings on Anti-Bullying Effort

Bullying is pervasive in American, as well as in international medical schools. Mistreatment during training has been shown to adversely impact students. On a personal level, it can result in lowered confidence and self-esteem. Professionally, it can impact their attitudes and behavior as physicians. Bullying has also been found to adversely affect patient care and contribute to burnout (an even more distressing situation considering what’s predicted to be a future physician shortage). It has been linked to increased rates of medical errors, and depression that may lead to suicide among medical students. Addressing the issue of bullying is a matter of increasing urgency.

Most American anti-bullying policies are failing, or at best having little impact. Approaches that have shown promise thus far have included theatre-media workshops and artwork. This author is proposing the integration of poetry along with writing prompts as another approach. Poetry can help relieve the stress of this intensely traumatic line of work, help forge connections with other doctors, and keep physicians linked to the humanity of coworkers and patients. I am looking for poems written by medical students, residents, or practicing physicians, on the subjects of bullying, harassment, ego, respect, competence, trust/trustworthiness, belittlement, humiliation, burnout, patient safety, medical errors, or shame to include in an article for publication on bullying. Poems on other topics discussed in medical school classrooms are also welcome. If poems have been previously published, please include the name of the publisher, year published, volume, issue, and page number as well as the publisher’s contact information so that permission can be obtained. Poems or questions can be forward by December 31, 2017 to Debbie McCulliss, science-medical writer, at

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