Storytelling in Healthcare Enhances Experience for Patients and Providers

HealthLeaders Media Staff, June 15, 2009

After an understanding is established within the facility, an ethically appropriate and effective process can then be put into place, says Tee.

"The process of taking stories is very different from how people are used to working," says Tee. "It is a process that is interested in uncovering the experience from the patient’s perspective, which will enrich and improve healthcare provision in the future."

How a staff member tells a story, receives a story, and recounts a story to another person must all be taken into account, as there is more than one way storytelling can be presented. "The model developed by the 1,000 Lives Campaign talks about four main uses of stories: to inspire, to educate, for learning, and for promoting a better public understanding and awareness via the media," says Tee. "Listening to patients helps [the NHS] to see so many things that may otherwise go unnoticed and helps us build a picture of what it is like to receive healthcare and how it can be improved."

Stories can be told by the patient, a relative of the patient, or even through digital media to preserve the story and share it with a larger audience.

A relative’s story is just as important as the patient’s interpretation of what happened. The relative’s story offers a different, but valuable, perspective that can further the development of the patient’s case.

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