Magical Realism: A New Tool for Empathetic Nursing




Ray, Stefanie

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This work explores the potential for nurses to improve their patient care by applying principles of narrative medicine to the close reading of magical realism fiction. Narrative medicine is a discipline that recognizes the similarities between fictional narratives and the clinical physician-patient encounter. Today, the discipline of narrative medicine focuses entirely on physicians, with little to no exploration of its application to nursing. Nurses should have access to programs training in narrativity because their role in patient care requires almost constant emotional and physical contact with patients. Magical realism is a subgenre of fictional literature that weaves supernatural elements into a realistic setting in order to create liminal spaces that are well-suited to challenging established modes of thought. Because of the specialized techniques employed in this genre, it has a powerful potential to foster empathy in readers. In this thesis, literature reviews are conducted for the topics of narrative medicine and magical realism, investigating the possibility of utilizing them to increase empathy in nurse-patient encounters. To make the results of the research accessible, a step-by-step guide is included for nurses with no prior knowledge of narrative or literary theory to educate themselves in close reading with the goal of fostering empathetic growth. This thesis opens the door to research for the discipline of narrative nursing.



magical realism, empathy, empathetic nursing, empathy training, literature, literature review, liminal space, liminality, narrative medicine, narrative nursing, nurses, Nursing, Honors College


Ray, S. (2021). Magical realism: A new tool for empathetic nursing (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI