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Case studies on creative doctors, nurses, and more: how real people innovate inside and outside their professional lives


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William Carlos Williams prized the "medical badge" that would allow him "to follow the poor defeated body into those gulfs and grottos" even though he knew he would have less time to write and less energy to spare.
How do other people manage a demanding career and a need for creativity?
Jeanne Ray worked as a nurse and didn't pen her first NYT bestseller until she was 60; Kathy Reichs still consults in forensic anthropology; CJ Lyons and Elizabeth Berg quit medicine and nursing, respectively, for their writing.
On the other hand, Dr. Mike Ko is creative in his research as a thoracic surgeon, and Dr. Michael Sanatani uses music to help heal his oncology patients. Dr. Karen Chien picked up her guitar while on sabbatical, and Dr. Jennifer Wong enjoys playing the piano for fun instead of profit.
What would you like to do with your life?
Part of my presentation at the Canadian Undergraduate Conference on Health Care (CUCOH).

Published in: Self Improvement
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Case studies on creative doctors, nurses, and more: how real people innovate inside and outside their professional lives

  1. 1. Case Studies on Creativity Text
  2. 2. Michael Augustine Ko “When you find a cure for cancer...”
  3. 3. Michael Sanatani founded a music and oncology program
  4. 4. Karen Chien doctor/classical guitarist
  5. 5. Jennifer Wong piano separate but equal
  6. 6. William Carlos Williams Medicine allowed him "to write what he chose, free from any kind of financial or political pressure....[H]e understood the tradeoffs: he would have less time to write; he would need more physical stamina than people with only one occupation.... [He] was willing to live the kind of rushed existence that would be necessary, crowding two full lifetimes into one...." -Biography on Poetry Foundation
  7. 7. Jeanne Ray You get more respect as a writer, but people tend to reach out to you as a nurse. Both of my professions are enormously fulfilling. Writing reaches a greater number of people, but I still go back to work one day a week as a nurse. I like the one on one of nursing, the commitment to the individual. I also like the celebrity of writing, the fact that I have the opportunity to perform before an audience. (Interview on Absolute Write in 2007)
  8. 8. Kathy Reichs still consults in forensic anthopology
  9. 9. Elizabeth Berg Before I became a writer, I was a registered nurse for ten years, and that was my “school” for writing—taking care of patients taught me a lot about human nature, about hope and fear and love and loss and regret and triumph and especially about relationships--all things that I tend to focus on in my work. I worked as a waitress, which is also good training for a writer, and I sang in a rock band which was not good for anything except the money I made.
  10. 10. CJ Lyons “After I’d quit my medical practice [17 years experience as an ER doctor, crisis counselor, victims advocate, and MedEvac flight physician] and moved 1,000 miles away from home to pursue my dream of being a full-time writer, my first novel, my dream debut, was cancelled by the publisher.”