International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleUsing stories within practice development
Type of ArticleIdeas and Influences
Author/sJoanne Odell
ReferenceVolume 4, Issue 1, Article 12
Date of PublicationMay 2014
Keywordsemotional touchpoints, patient experience, stories

I chose to write about patient stories as a key influence in my work because of my personal experience of using these. This experience has inspired me to encourage and enable others to use this approach to help them understand better the people they are caring for and their experiences of healthcare.
Being introduced to patient stories

I was introduced to the idea of patient stories when I was a participant on the Gerontological Nurse Development Programme in 2002. This three year practice development project, a collaboration between the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the University of Portsmouth and the local acute and community older persons’ services, was aimed at developing nurses and their practices. The RCN facilitator I was working with encouraged me to ask patients I was caring for some unusual questions such as, ‘tell me about your life’ and ‘what prevents you doing what you want to do?’ By listening to the responses I was able to start moving from seeing the patient in one dimension to seeing the whole person living in the context of their family and community, not just their medical condition. Subsequently, I wrote about my experience and the learning I gained from this simple but powerful experience (Odell, 2004).

As a result, I started to invite nurses I was working with to ask their patients the same questions as I had used. For example, I was mentoring a student nurse who had assessed an older person on admission to the community hospital. I asked the nurse to return to the patient the following day and ask questions about her life and likes and dislikes, as opposed to the standard medically oriented questions we traditionally ask. The nurse told me that doing so had enabled her to learn more about the person she was caring for and therefore to care for her in a more individualised way.


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This article by Joanne Odell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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