Sharing your nursing story
Lois Gerber MPH, BSN, RN

August 2014 
Volume 44  Number 8
Pages 45 - 47
  PDF Version Available!

YOU MAY LOVE to share stories about your nursing experiences with other nurses in a confidential manner. You may even use stories to teach patients about health maintenance and disease management. Because stories are nonthreatening, they make nursing and healthcare come alive and are particularly effective when health-related advice might not be welcome or appreciated.1,2Have you ever thought about writing a story that's a recollection of one of your significant nursing experiences? (See What's in a [nursing] story?) This article tells you why your stories are valuable and how to go about writing them and finding an audience, including through professional publication.Perhaps you don't think you have the time or talent to write, or that writing is boring or hard work. Perhaps you're used to writing in short succinct phrases to document patient care and don't feel comfortable writing complete sentences and paragraphs. Yet you know how to identify and describe your patients' emotional and physical health status; these skills give you a solid foundation for writing.3Learning basic writing skills, which can benefit nurses personally and professionally, is worth the effort. This knowledge can be a stepping-stone to authoring clinical articles or research manuscripts.4,5 For nurses who are retired, writing can be a productive and satisfying activity that draws on their years of experience.Clinical nurses often deal with serious life challenges, including illness, injury, and death. Writing about your thoughts and feelings regarding these issues can help you express deeper emotions and act as a valuable self-care tool.6 Putting pen to paper (or fingers to a keyboard) will enhance your professional and personal growth and enrich nurse-patient relationships.7 Other likely benefits include improved compliance with evidence-based practice guidelines, stronger critical thinking skills, and increased self-awareness.1,8 Research has shown that story writing can ease psychological

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