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Nurse seeks young chronic pain patients for storytelling study

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A nurse researcher is seeking children who suffer from chronic pain to take part in a new study looking at how storytelling might improve communication between young patients and clinicians.

Mary Lockwood, a PhD student in nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University, is the brains behind the study, which also aims to provide more insight into how children cope and deal with pain.

“We believe listening to children’s stories may improve patient-clinician communication”

Mary Lockwood

As part of the study, children will record their experiences using storytelling. The goal of the research is to find out whether listening to those stories can help health professionals such as nurses make better decisions when treating children in chronic pain.

Ms Lockwood will also investigate the impact storytelling has on young participants.

She is seeking boys and girls aged between five and 11 years old who suffer chronic pain to take part in the study.

“We want to find out if listening to children’s stories helps to improve healthcare – the only way we can do that is by working with and listening to kids,” explained Ms Lockwood.

“This research is important because too often children suffering long-term health conditions feel excluded from decisions over their care,” she said. “Storytelling empowers children to take control over the narrative of their pain, which has the potential to boost mental wellbeing.”

Ms Lockwood said storytelling also had the potential to improve communication between young patients and the nurses, doctors and other professionals treating them.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Mary Lockwood

Mary Lockwood

“We believe listening to children’s stories may improve patient-clinician communication. Better communication leads to better clinical decision-making, which reduces the potential of causing trauma to children and their families,” she said.

“Anything that may help ease chronic pain in children is important and worth investigating,” she added.

Children participating in the study – as well as their parents and carers – will be asked to attend a number of sessions with a professional storyteller who will work with them to tell their own stories and create a short film.

At the end of the project, the films will be shared with healthcare professionals.

  • Parents and carers of children interested in taking part can email Ms Lockwood at
  • More information about the project – including a short film – can be found at the Stories in Health website


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