Monday, June 24, 2013

The Power of Storytelling in Nursing

Whew, has it been busy around here!  Thank you for your patience with the storytelling lull this past week!  With packing up all our belongings, moving to a brand new area, unpacking enough to get by and celebrating our wedding anniversary, finding time to dedicate towards creating new stories was rather difficult… not to mention how easily distracted you can get when sitting in a room full of boxes that need to be unpacked!  But never fear, more Nurseables tales are in the making, so you won’t have to wait for long.

In the few spare moments I did find, I took to the time to reflect on why stories are such a effective tool in the first place.    With the ability to capture imagination, pique the interest and illustrate important lessons, storytelling is a powerful art form.  It has been used throughout the years to preserve the history of nations and families.  It has empowered people to action and taken people through the depths of human experiences.

We've all been there.  Have you ever experienced a sense of sadness as you drew near the end of a good story because it’s almost like saying goodbye to a good friend?  Or looked forward to a sequel if only to see you beloved characters once again?  Has a story of overcoming a struggle ever pierced your heard and brought tears to your eyes? 

Stories can be more than just entertainment.  How many of us have learned courage from a little hobbit, love from Shakespeare or friendship from The Secret Garden?  Stories are powerful and they can play an important role in teaching medical concepts.

That’s what inspired the creation of Nurseables.  Amidst the daunting onslaught of information that nursing school throws your way, it’s sometimes hard to stay afloat.  Experiencing the moment, learning from other’s experiences, learning from your own mistakes and teaching others what you have learned all make information easier to remember and comprehend.  The idea with Nurseables is to give tired nursing brains a break by illustrating medical concepts in a story format.  Sure, the tales can be entertaining, but they also help remind, teach and describe some of the amazing phenomenon that occur in the body.  Some in the nursing education community are even adopting the idea of storytelling by encouraging their students to write blogs or keep journals about their experiences. 

But it doesn’t end there…  Stories can be told to our patients too to help make medicine a little easier to comprehend.  A hospital in Brazil has the right idea.  Empowering kids to understand and take part in their fight against cancer, a hospital teamed up with comics to help kids understand chemotherapy better through comic book heroes.  Now, kids receive their “superformula” treatment with enthusiasm, understanding that it will help to make them better in the long run even if it doesn’t make them feel great right away.   

For a heart touching story of a hospital that has the right idea when it comes to teaching about complex medical concepts, watch the following video:

Medical Morales to Remember:

  • Storytelling has a place in nursing and patient education.  Whether that’s talking about your own experiences, those you’ve helped others go through, or a creative illustration of a medical concept, stories are a powerful vehicle of communication

Additional Resources:

Do you agree?  What do you do to make medicine less daunting for patients?  Have you ever told a story to teach a lesson in healthcare?  
Tell us about it!  We want to hear from you.

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