Poems for Doctors: a video


Written by Lesley Morrison. This year, for the fourth year, all Scottish medical graduates were gifted Tools of the Trade, the little pocket sized book of poetry published by the Scottish Poetry Library and intended to provide support for new doctors as they embark on their very demanding new professional lives, and to encourage their creativity.

In collaboration with the Scottish Poetry Library, the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews University Medical School has produced lovely video recordings of some of the poems and the latest was released on 5th July as a 70th birthday present for the NHS. The recordings and the story of the project, taken forward thanks to the support of the dean, Professor David Crossman, and other senior staff members and the expertise of Steve Smart, poet, visual artist, and information designer, can be heard and read at .

The readings are by medical professionals and students who have chosen a poem for particular reasons or resonances which they describe, and they are moving and powerful.

Each reading provides a seed for informal discussion in a Facebook group managed by a group of experienced doctors. The intention is to facilitate an online discussion about these very relevant and affecting issues and conditions and in doing so to foster a community of encouragement and support.

A video installation of the readings has been on site at St Andrews Medical School and been taken to several conferences and seminars.

Listen, enjoy, reflect and pass on!

Work is about to begin on the third edition of “Tools of the Trade” (the second edition sold out!) which further feeds into the work of the Scottish medical humanities group promoting the introduction of more medical humanities into Scottish medical schools curricula


For teachers, the Scottish Poetry Library has recently published an equivalent beautiful little book, Learn for the future, available through the website,

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