Joy Jacobson, MFA, our poet-in-residence, co-founded the GW Nursing Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement’s program in narrative writing for clinicians. Her workshops seek to enhance participants’ writing ability, help them prevent burnout, and augment their empathy as practitioners.
Clinicians are powerful advocates—“the eyes for those who cannot see and the ears for those who cannot hear,” as one workshop participant put it. Professional caregivers speak on behalf of the voiceless, and yet too few write about their work, in scientific and mainstream venues, in part because they’ve never been taught how to do so.
Joy teaches writing as a process, one that involves a step-by-step discovery, through writing and deep revision, on a topic of the writer’s own choosing. As a medical editor, she appreciates how writing is a process, just as nursing and medicine are. As a poet, she is aware of how metaphor, rhyme, rhythm, compression of story and language can be useful to nonpoets, as well.