Nurse's Station

Does storytelling really have a place in nursing?


iStockphoto | ThinkStock

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

While not as controversial as, say, hospital-mandated scrubs color coding, storytelling in the workplace is not something that all nurses agree on. But no matter which side of the fence you’re on, the fact that the subject doesn’t sit well with all nurses makes it a great topic of debate.

A great resource on storytelling in nursing recently hit our Scrubs Blog Carnival when Nurseables featured a fantastic roundup of nurses talking about storytelling in the workplace. Check it out below:

Stories are fine for kids when they’re growing up, but does storytelling have a place in a professional occupation like nursing? Well, I would argue that stories not only have a place, but can be a very powerful tool if used correctly.


A little while ago, I wrote an article about this very topic called The Power of Storytelling in Nursing. So as not to beat a dead horse, here’s a little excerpt from that post:


“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 I’m not alone. Here are some others that think storytelling is an essential tool in our profession. Coach Scala at Living Sublime Wellness argues that stories are an incredible means of motivation and emotional engagement.


Jo, RN of the Head Nurse blog talks about how she made the decision to share her personal struggles with cancer when connecting with her patients.


And Brittney Wilson of The Nerdy Nurse brings this topic to a whole new level by encouraging the use of blogging and storytelling as a means to improve the nursing profession as a whole.


Now, if you’re saying to yourself – Ok, I get it, storytelling can be a wonderful tool, but….I’m really, really, REALLY not very good at that whole storytelling thing… Well then, never fear! Joyce over at International Nurse Support has just the article for you.  She provides some valuable advice to help you learn how to conquer that skill and become a better nurse because of it.

Want to see these concepts in action?

Zach G at threw together some inspiring videos from various motivational leaders for your enjoyment.
7 Awesome TED Talks to Inspire Nurses

Or you can check out the story that was the inspiration behind starting the Nurseables blog:


And that’s all for now folks! What do you think? Can stories really help people? Does storytelling have a place in the realm of nursing? Looking forward to hearing from you!


This post is a collective effort of nurse bloggers as part of the Scrubs Mag Blog Carnival. If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.
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