Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Can storytelling improve care?

Today I'm submitting a research proposal for ethics review on a narrative training group for nurses on one of Holland Bloorview's inpatient units.

This stems from what I've been learning about narrative medicine and the power of storytelling to humanize health care.

The bi-weekly group will have nurses write a story or draw a comic about their emotional responses to work with clients and families and about how they imagine clinical situations from different perspectives, then share and discuss their work. It will aid them in processing the emotional side of working with children who are in rehab following painful surgeries or life-changing trauma.

The goal is to increase empathy for clients and families and the nurses themselves; to foster teamwork; and to build resilience to compassion fatigue, which is the natural stress that arises from caring for people who are in pain or traumatized.

One of the researchers is Shelley Wall, the illustrator in residence at the University of Toronto's medical school. She'll be coaching participants in how to tell a story through a simple three-panel comic. As part of a study recruitment poster, she created avatars for the researchers. What do you think of mine (above)?


I love it! Sounds like an interesting project, Louise.
So great to see you last night! Keep up the great work :)

I love your avatar and knew immediately that it was you! I'm also so impressed and enthusiastic about the work that you're doing -- I can't think of a better person to help train than you!

Thanks everyone! :) Will keep you posted on developments!