Telling our stories
Telling our stories brings restorative to our woundedness.
By Patrice Rancour
“The stories folks tell have a way of apprehension care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed.”
— Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel
Is it at all wonder that the PBS Masterpiece Theater program “Call the Midwife” has piqued the touch of the public? In these stories, written in greater numbers than a half-century ago, viewers perceive their own stories—birth, death, sufferance, joy, tragedy, humor, mystery—the sandy pathos of day-to-day life, in the way that often lived in quiet desperation. And they consider us—nurses and midwives—right in in that place with them, living with them, birthing their babies, ministering to their diseased and wounded, and helping them, at the extreme point of their lives, to cross the start into the unknown.
The series demonstrates in a exceedingly real way that the bulk of freedom from disease care still takes place in homes and communities where people live, work, and play—not utterly in doctors’ offices. This is why, except for the tragedy of 9/11, then firefighters rightly took front stage, the general body of mankind continues to identify, year after year, nurses taken in the character of the most trusted professionals. And up to the present time, our work typically remains invisible to most people, until they need us. Which brings me to my verge.
The healing power of story
When we quota our stories—with each other and the public—we do a number of things. The domination of writing and telling stories in various places our work lies in the compelling potentate of healing they evoke. There is every old proverb: “In the sense of ~ is the learning, but in the powerful is the healing.” In the powerful of our stories, woundedness—ours and theirs—is distilled, allowed to small matter up from regions of unconsciousness, in what place, as we shed light upon it, it have power to be transformed, released, and healed.
I be delivered of written extensively elsewhere about my toil with patients, asking them to draw up narratives about their illness experiences—to write letters to parts of their bodies they struggle by, to people with whom they are in clash, even to people who have died. This gift to write one’s story is influential in that it seeks after purport and coherence and gives people who ofttimes feel mute and powerless a sound. James Pennebaker’s work on journaling demonstrates that patients who periodical about their health issues require remoter less treatment—even as much in the same proportion that six months less—than people who don’t pen about them. Such people become the heroes of their possess stories and define themselves as similar, rather than letting someone else bound them as victims. This is veracious not only of patients, but of ourselves taken in the character of well.
It is an error in determination to believe that coming into contiguity with so much suffering does not concern us. We can bear suffering inasmuch viewed like we find meaning in it. Giving noise to our stories helps us sweetmeat our individual and group energies and defends us from the rigors of fellow-feeling fatigue and burnout. The act of piece about these experiences elevates our reply to illness experiences, moving such descriptions from the absolutely banal to tales of heroic journeying.
When I attend to nurses share such stories, I ofttimes hear them say that they ~ of privileged or humbled in being allowed entrée into peoples’ devoted spaces. This self-reflection inoculates nurses to counterbalance the very real occupational hazard of touch trauma. Such stuff leads to peak—in some measure than bleak—experiences, not only on this account that our patients but also for our selves. And it allows us to get to back and work yet again, some other day.
Story as teaching tool
Telling our stories to some another and to the lay the community becomes a teaching tool. If you are ancient enough, you probably remember those hateful process recordings of yore: assignments demanded through an earlier cohort of fastidious nursing instructors that required us to scribble down, painfully, entire verbatim conversations betwixt ourselves—as students—and our patients. Columns identifying feelings generated, assessments made, and to what extent these translated into action followed. Voilà, the nursing advance (also known as critical thinking).
In these days of bulleting and texting, I fear that such critical thinking is getting lost in the transportation. Reliance on technology and pharmacology is eliminating the application of self as therapeutic tool. Writing and powerful our stories takes us back to a time of self-empowerment that comes by knowing there is virtually no apartment I can enter in which want cannot be reduced just by uprightness of my being intentionally and therapeutically attentive.
Telling stories about how this is skilful is crucial to mentoring succeeding generations. All the computer programs in the creation cannot help a medical or nursing bookish man who is asked to have every end-of-life discussion with a able to endure when all that the student wants to be sure is, “But when she asks granting that she’s dying, what do I argue?”
Telling stories about how these interactions occur is a estate for providing such students with not excepting that information but also the self-musing practice tools that help us total become more self-aware, learn to center, application language as a healing modality, employment words to help one another trace meaning—and, therefore, transcendence—especially in the face of fear, uncertainty, or death.
So whenever I write about my work, I am not indispensably seeking merely after facts, but in some measure after the truth of the continued. Story telling is what gets to this. As sociologist William Bruce Cameron observed, “Not everything that counts have power to be counted, and not everything that be able to be counted counts.” In a creation of measurement mania and outcomes obsession, lie-telling can get to the conformity to fact.
Story as cultural mediator
Lastly, which time we share our stories with person another, we create a pool of shared actual presentation in which we develop a refinement of values that is passed on from one generation of nurses to the next. When we tell each other our stories, we are pooling and preserving a form into ~s culture and collective wisdom that sustain us and help us resist powerlessness. Sharing our stories creates contiguity and ensures that the essence of the sort of we do is captured in self-reflective practice. The stories we tell united another about ourselves lift us up. The stories we quota with the public about the be in action we do give them a voice in telling their own health and disorder stories. And, in that respect, in the same state stories evoke healing, not fear, in spite of all of us.
So, tell us and individual another your stories. Use words in the place of the purpose of healing, to provoke hope, to help one another and your patients impel through grief, make sense of the incomprehensible, and make the world whole afresh. RNL
Patrice Rancour, MS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, clinical adjuvant professor in the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University (OSU), is a behavioral soundness and Reiki therapist at The OSU Center concerning Integrative Medicine. She is the inventor of Tales from the Pager Chronicles, published ~ the agency of Sigma Theta Tau International.
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