Article review from Nurse Education Today: Tell me a story -- a conceptual exploration of storytelling in healthcare education (full reference below)
This conceptual paper:
- “explores the principles of storytelling”
- “evaluates use of storytelling techniques”
- “acknowledges role of storytelling in healthcare delivery”
- “identifies skills learned and benefits derived from storytelling”
- “speculates upon use of storytelling strategies in nurse education”
Using story as anecdotal introductions in teaching is used in everyday life. With more and more nurse educators looking for evidence based practice, some have defended this millennia old tradition with research and supporting literature. Advances with computers, internet, and mobile devices have made digitally recording and sharing stories much easier and quicker with the ability to reach a worldwide audience instantly. In trying to harness this power for educational purposes, educators must not only promote but also define an agreed-upon standard.
The importance of storytelling as the foundation of human experiences cannot be overestimated. The oral traditions focus upon educating and transmitting knowledge and skills and also evolved into one of the earliest methods of communicating scientific discoveries and developments. A wide ranging search of the storytelling, education and health-related literature encompassing the years 1975–2007 was performed. Evidence from disparate elements of education and healthcare were used to inform an exploration of storytelling. This conceptual paper explores the principles of storytelling, evaluates the use of storytelling techniques in education in general, acknowledges the role of storytelling in healthcare delivery, identifies some of the skills learned and benefits derived from storytelling, and speculates upon the use of storytelling strategies in nurse education. Such stories have, until recently been harvested from the experiences of students and of educators, however, there is a growing realization that patients and service users are a rich source of healthcare-related stories that can affect, change and benefit clinical practice. The use of technology such as the Internet discussion boards or digitally-facilitated storytelling has an evolving role in ensuring that patient-generated and experiential stories have a future within nurse education.
The history of storytelling and its success is used to introduced the idea that it can also be beneficial for the health sciences. Skills identified are:
- “Identifying key messages”
- “Summarizing and précising”
- “Communicating to an audience”
- “Attentive listening and group participation underpin attitudes such as respect”
- “Openness and a sense of being part of a team”
“Whilst storytelling in the generic or managerial education settings is focused upon the communication of organizational norms and values, nurse education differs in a desire to access stories that provide insights into healthcare experiences.” Advantages listed include:
- “cost effective”
- “is not dependant upon being literate”
- “does not require equipment or access to a reliable energy supply”
- “requires imagination”
- “requires understanding of the cognitive structures of the target society”
If used effectively in healthcare education, storytelling can develop advanced communication skills such as:
- “development of the skills required to follow a narrative thread, tolerating ambiguity and surrendering to the story”
- “the adoption of multiple and contradictory points of view”
- “an ability to enter the storytellers' reality and to understand how the story teller makes sense of that reality”
- “to gain insight into the use of image and metaphor”
- “to acknowledge the use of imagination in being transported to the storytellers' reality”
New technologies allow multiple methods in which stories can be shared by using photos, video, music, and voice.
Example: Patient Voices Programme
Haigh, C., Hardy, P.(2010). Tell me a story -- a conceptual exploration of storytelling in healthcare education. Nurse Education Today, Corrected Proof, Available online.