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Learning from nurse 'stories' has role in boosting patient experience

  • 7 Comments

The use of storytelling by nursing staff is becoming an important tool for understanding patient care, a new study by the NHS has concluded.

Stories told by nurses, as well as those told by patients, are playing an increasing role in providing a holistic view of care experiences, according to findings published earlier this month by a regional division of NHS England.

The study looked at how storytelling is used by nearly 40 NHS organisations in the Midlands and East of England and whether it has progressed since a similar programme in 2011.

“We want to use the experiences from patients, carers and healthcare professionals to understand the patient experience”

Lyn McIntyre

It found that a wide variety of stories were being used for a range of purposes and the most powerful mode of delivery was by the patient or carer themselves.

However, none of the organisations taking part in the study had a structured process in place to support those hearing the story and very few provided support to the storyteller themselves.

Those organisations that had systemised processes in place now used stories in a more strategic way for purposes such as pathway redesign, according to a report on the study – titled What’s the story? Storytelling within the NHS (Midlands and East).

Some trusts are now using a specific programme of work to identify the stories, the report added. However, the study cautioned that stories sourced through a complaints process “seemingly resulted in no tangible outcomes or impact at the board meeting”.

Lyn McIntyre, deputy nurse director of patient experience of NHS England (Midlands and East), said: “The launch of this report signals a new chapter for storytelling within the NHS – we know how important patient stories are to driving forward effective change for our patients.”

NHS England

Lyn McIntyre

She added: “It isn’t enough to just capture personal accounts but we want to use the experiences from patients, carers and healthcare professionals to understand the patient experience and, ultimately, how patients are treated within our care.

“Patient experience will therefore underpin service change and commissioning going forward,” said Ms McIntyre.

The study report noted that a next phase of progress in the region may include the development of a Patient Story Toolkit.

 

  • 7 Comments

Readers' comments (7)

  • michael stone

    I feel sure that two major inhibitors to this are the time it takes to tell and listen to stories, and the difficulty of auditing the improvements.

    But a major aspect of 'care' involves understanding the other person's perspective, and 'stories' can be a shortcut to that insight. Some stories make it so easy to 'stand in the other person's shoes' that having heard them, the message is hard to ignore.

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  • michael stone surprising you are still here after all this time sprouting your nonsense and monopolising the threads. sad you have nothing better to do than feed you fetish about nurses.

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  • michael stone | 1-Oct-2014 12:11 pm

    I agree with what you say, and feel another inhibitor may be nurses having to discuss an experience that went wrong and the fear of reprisal. That's despite all the supposedly whistle-blowing policies in place.

    By the way, I see you still have your groupie in tow, ha! Think they definitely have a fetish with you, to coin a term already used. Reading between the lines, I think you are held in high esteem really.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 1-Oct-2014 10:04 pm

    'Reading between the lines, I think you are held in high esteem really.

    High esteem ? Like Guy fawkes on top of the bonfire ?

    I agree with your point about '[not] discussing things that went wrong'.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 1-Oct-2014 10:04 pm

    My previous comment, was very 'time pressed'.

    I think there are probably two main learning opportunities, from 'stories'.

    The learning from stories told by patients/ relatives, is the consequences of 'different perspectives'.

    Your point about 'nurses talking about things which went wrong' is the second main opportunity to learn, because learning from things which went wrong, is almost always true learning (whereas talking about 'when what we did worked [as we thought it should have done]' is mainly just 'reinforcement'). But as you point out, if people who wish to learn from the mistakes, so that the mistakes are not repeated, get 'hammered' for making the mistake, they aren't likely to discuss it.

    This 'learning from mistakes without too much 'blame culture'' is, I think, a fairly big problem re the NHS and probably for HCPs in general (because your mistakes affect people, not just things') ?

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  • Michael Stone

    your comments on LCP, LoLEoLTLC, etc. and above on narrative medicine and nursing would do very well on a site where you can go and misinform the public - they wouldn't know the difference.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 3-Oct-2014 10:53 pm

    'your comments on LCP, LoLEoLTLC, etc.'

    What is LoL, and what is TLC ? If I've used those terms, I can't remember doing so.

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