Personal creative writing is increasingly used in medical schools to foster self-reflection. This article looks particularly at poetry as a vehicle for expressing personal experiences of professional development. The authors present a series of poems written by students at their medical school. In them, the students reflect on embryology, gross anatomy, telling (or not telling) bad news to trusting patients (and family members), encountering death, and encountering their own anger and frustration with the demands of medicine. These poems not only capture individual students' feelings and imaginations but also demonstrate the students' constant struggle to sustain their idealism about medicine throughout the four years of their education.
(C) 1998 Association of American Medical Colleges