Introduction

Module Summary

Storytelling is introduced as a holistic and culturally co-created experience, which authentically navigates and engages human beings in a dynamic process of sharing, learning and celebrating our interconnected lives. It embodies thoughts, knowledge and heritage, and reveals the language of the world and community in which we live. Storytelling strives to impress upon the reader that individuals, communities and groups have a right to live, voice and realise their own story. Using storytelling in healthcare settings holds great potential for delivering healthcare in a manner that reflects humanistic principles.

Key areas covered

  • Key features of storytelling as a concept
  • Theory of storytelling
  • The importance of storytelling in interprofessional environments
  • How storytelling can improve the delivery of healthcare, interprofessional collaboration, and patient experience
  • Examples of how storytelling can be used in practice in healthcare contexts

Learning outcomes

  1. Broad understanding of storytelling as a concept.
  2. Theory of storytelling.
  3. Examples of storytelling in practice (multi- and interprofessional settings)

Importance of module to healthcare delivery

Building on Module 2, there is a clear need to develop healthcare systems that reflect the principles of humanism. Storytelling is a valuable tool for putting humanistic principles into practice. By providing opportunities for health professionals to develop a deeper understanding of their colleagues, their patients and themselves, storytelling can be an essential element in efforts to create a more humanistic healthcare system. In addition to this, storytelling increases an awareness of societal inequality and diversity by highlighting how all experiences are situated in specific cultural, societal, and generational norms (among others). A healthcare workforce that is more aware of the full breadth of societal experiences and perspectives will lead to healthcare systems being better equipped to treat patients from all parts of our diverse society, including under-represented or disempowered groups. 

 Importance of module to individual healthcare professionals

The use of storytelling has the potential to produce highly positive results to individual healthcare professionals as well as to their patients. Developing a better understanding of storytelling and how to put it into practice will enable healthcare students to develop into professionals who are better able to communicate with their colleagues and patients, which will give them a more rewarding professional life. In addition, learning to use storytelling effectively in their everyday work will give healthcare professionals the skills to become more self-aware and process their own experiences, bringing benefits to their mental health and well-being.