Thursday Review: “The Nurse and the Use of Narrative: An Approach to Caring.”

How do we understand our own illness, and how does it affect us? When a patient is ill, how can healthcare professionals—especially nurses—help shape a positive understanding of what is happening?

In the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, J. A. Aloi discusses techniques to help patients edit their own story. Although focused on mental health, the author includes how the generalist nurse in all areas of nursing can help patients create multiple perspectives.

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Thursday Review: “Physician and Nursing Perceptions Concerning Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration”

There is no single profession which can meet all patients’ needs, Vasiliki Matziou et al. begin. The authors later explain it’s quite the opposite: when healthcare professionals collaborate, there are better health outcomes, higher patient satisfaction, and lower costs.1, 2

This much is known, but what influences how well nurses and physicians communicate? What exactly does each side feel they bring to each other?

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Thursday Review: “Restoring the Patient’s Voice: The Therapeutics of Illness Narratives”

The bulk of my work is wrapped up in teaching how stories can be useful in clinical situations. I believe that stories and storytelling make life better and more meaningful. I tend, though, to downplay narrative work that can’t explicitly help doctors, nurses, and administrators serve patients more effectively. I suppose that comes from a need to show healthcare professionals the value of medical humanities.

The way that Dr. Jurate A. Sakalys writes about the need to simply let patients talk, though, is a good challenge for me. Writing in the Journal of Holistic Nursing, Sakalys brings up several themes which have come up in the context of patient-provider communication. The focus of the article, though, is on why those narratives are healthy for the patient.

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Thursday Review: “Understanding the Person through Narrative”

Last week, examining Greg Mahr’s ideas about assessing a patient’s decision-making capacities, I found it odd that there is nearly no difference between the outcome of a traditional decision-making assessment and a proposed, new narrative assessment. Mahr does a wonderful job of explaining why narrative is important and how a narrative assessment is focused on the patient’s understanding, rather than a physician’s wishes. The question remains, though: if the outcomes of a narrative assessment don’t differ from what is currently in place, why is it necessary?

Writing in Nursing Research and Practice, Joanne M. Hall and Jill Powell examine some real differences between current medicine and narrative medicine. Their article presents a wide review of available scholarship on narrative in use, specifically as it relates to mental health nursing.
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Thursday Review: “Relationships of power: implications for interprofessional education”

Teaching health care providers how to collaborate between disciplines is considered an important mechanism for enhancing communication and interprofessional practice (IPP) among professionals, optimizing staff participation in clinical decision making, and improving the delivery of patient care1, 2, write Lindsay Baker, Eileen Egan-Lee, Maria Athina “Tina” Martimianakis and Scott Reeves.

Their article in the Journal of Interprofessional Care answers a big, glaring question: if there are such big advantages to “interprofessional practice”, why can it be so difficult to get professionals in different areas to collaborate?
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Thursday Review: “Enabling Narrative Pedagogy: Listening in Nursing Education”

Writing in the journal Humanities, Wendy Bowles addresses the question, How do nurse educators who enable Narrative Pedagogy experience Listening: knowing and connecting?

This article discusses the education of nurses in light of the “Concernful Practices” framework for Narrative Pedagogy, and centers on its “Listening: knowing and connecting” element. Bowles specifically presents how “Listening as Dialog” is present in nurse educators who implement Narrative Pedagogy strategies. Bowles is specifically addressing one facet of one element of an academic classification aimed at one specific profession.

If that sounds like a niche presentation, you’d be right. Bowles work exists inside the discussion of a specific set of tools. After reading the paper, though, let me see if I can zoom out, and give a broader context for why I think some of the elements Bowles writes about are compelling.

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Thursday Review: “Nursing students’ socialisation into practical skills”

Mona Ewertsson, Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta, and Karin Blomberg noticed that there is precious little data available on how nurses move from the academic knowledge of their profession into its clinical practice. Much of the literature on socialisation in nursing has focused on describing negative experiences that shape the socialisation process, they write in Nurse Education in Practice.
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Thursday Review: “Do Trained Nurses … Work for Love, or Do They Work for Money?”

It’s been several years since my own near-fatal health scare. In the time between now and then, I’ve often reflected on how, no matter how I felt about the physicians in charge, I always implicitly trusted the nurses. I had doctors who must have hidden their halo somewhere, and I had doctors whose degree I swear was written on the back of a greasy diner’s paper placemat. I can’t say, though, that I ever thought that the nurse taking care of me had anything other than the best for me in mind.

It was sobering, then, when Ellen D. Baer opened her speech-turned-article “‘Do Trained Nurses … Work for Love, or Do They Work for Money?’ Nursing and Altruism in the Twenty-First Century” like this:
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