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Keywords

dyad, Flight 1549, listening, Miracle on the Hudson, nursing, storytelling, trauma

 

Authors

  1. Cummings, Jeanne

Abstract

Background: Individuals who have experienced traumatic events often share their experiences in story form. This sharing has consequences for both storytellers and listeners. Understanding the experience of both members of the listener-storyteller dyad is of value to nurses who are often the listener within the nurse-patient dyad.

 

Objective: The aim of this study was to illuminate the experiences of the listener and the storyteller when a traumatic event is shared within the dyad.

 

Methods: The phenomenon was explored using an interpretive phenomenological approach. Participants consisted of 12 dyads, each with a storyteller and a listener. The storytellers were individuals who had been involved in U.S. Airways Flight 1549 when it crash-landed in the Hudson River in January 2009. Each storyteller identified a listener who had listened to them share their story of this event, dubbed The Miracle on the Hudson. In-depth interviews were conducted with each storyteller and each listener.

 

Results: Five essential themes emerged from the data: Theme 1, The Story Has a Purpose; Theme 2, The Story as a Whole May Continue to Change as Different Parts Are Revealed; Theme 3, The Story Is Experienced Physically, Mentally,Emotionally, and Spiritually; Theme 4, Imagining the "What" as well as the "What If"; and Theme 5, The Nature of the Relationship Colors the Experience of the Listener and the Storyteller. Roy's Adaptation Model of Nursing was found to be applicable to the findings of this study.

 

Discussion: For the participants in this study, the experience of sharing a traumatic event involved facts, feelings, and images. The story evolved as it was remembered, told, and listened to in a nonlinear, multifaceted way. The listener and the storyteller collaborated, adapted, and responded physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.