Through oral tradition and written word, story telling has always been a way for humans to share information and emotions. Sharing stories can be a powerful tool to encourage deeper reflection on a given topic.
Background: The essays I have written began as a simple journaling exercise after the deaths of family members. I subsequently turned my journal notes into essays and shared them with a few friends and colleagues. When doing so they began reflecting on their own grief experiences and encouraged me to share this type of story with others for their therapeutic value. I included three in a workshop on grief and found them to be a useful tool for stimulating discussion. I have also submitted grief related essays to National Public Radio and have shared them with a wider audience.
Purpose: Because nurses are often confronted by grief, loss and other complex human emotions, it is important for the profession to provide outlets for expression and support. It is the purpose of these and other stories like them, to provide a vehicle for exploring thoughts and feelings on a given topic. Therapeutic stories may be read or listened to privately to promote reflection. When used in a group, they can facilitate an honest exchange, and provide an avenue for support. Because therapeutic stories engage the emotions of the reader or listener, they can be powerful tools to help us connect with each other and advance both the art and the science of nursing.