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The Living Hand

A Call for Submissions: The Living Hand* – Medical Humanities Section - JGIM Web

*This title is inspired by the poem “This Living Hand” by John Keats
The living hand of the physician. The hand that heals, that caresses and comforts, that steadies over the years with growing confidence, that cuts and mends, that forms the link between doctor and patient. There are many uses of the hand in medicine, but we are proposing another use: the hand that writes. Whether a poem, a short story, or a quick note, writing allows us to synthesize and organize the many scattered thoughts, emotions, and experiences that circulate loosely through our minds. Writing allows us to etch our ethereal thoughts onto paper with all-too-real ink. It is often said that “writing allows the writer to find out what he believes.” True, but it is much more than that: writing forces the writer to confront what he believes. There is something about seeing a thought written in hard ink that cements it in reality, forcing the writer to consider the source and meaning, unable to erase what his eyes have seen. In addition to all of this… writing is fun. 

In order to further support the humanities in medical education, JGIM, Web Edition will host “The Living Hand” humanities section for residents and medical students to submit poetry or personal narrative prose for publication on the web page. In “The Living Hand” humanities section, we will publish a new article of poetry or prose written by a medical student or resident or fellow, thus providing plenty of opportunities for fresh voices to share their stories. We are looking for writing that is true to who you are. Share your lessons with us by showing through your stories rather than telling. We encourage all of you to capture the thoughts that are bouncing around in your head, and submit to “The Living Hand” for publication. The white space awaits your words.

Best regards,
Rachel Elkin 
Deputy Editor, “The Living Hand” 
Submission Instructions

The image above is a photographic reproduction of "The Writing Master" by Thomas Eakins (1844-1916).  The image is available in Wiki Commons at and is in public domain.