1. Schaffner, Marilyn PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CGRN

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My Uncle Ray was a man who knew no strangers. It did not matter if it was a teenager in line at the grocery store or an elderly man sitting next to him on a plane, he always took an opportunity to strike a conversation. At his funeral, so many told stories of how they met my uncle and repeatedly they said their friendship began because he reached out to them first.


As part of leadership growth and development, my former boss shared a book with his leaders, Privileged Presence-Personal Stories of Connections in Healthcare, a collection of more than 50 stories that captures real healthcare experiences. The stories highlight both the clinical and emotional aspects of the healthcare experience through those who have been there. It was a book that was hard to put down. The book offers powerful messages about ingredients of "good" healthcare as well as what does not work.


Stories are a gift-whether it is a story of imagination from a 6-year-old child or a story that makes us pause to ask why or a story that simply warms the heart. Stories are a way to connect with our patients. Before I retired, my organization implemented "My Story," which provided the patient and/or family an opportunity to complete a "My Story" form that was posted in the patient's room providing nurses, doctors, and other healthcare colleagues an opportunity to connect with the patient as a person. It allowed the patient an opportunity to share a piece of his or her life's story with the staff.


By really listening to our patients' stories, we can learn from their experiences. With their stories, we may learn what makes us great nurses. With their stories we can help create a better healthcare organization for the future.


Stories are a way to connect with one another. Telling your story can be the method for sharing the spirit of nursing. It may be the inspiration a colleague needs during a difficult shift. Last week, I came upon a website ( that contains inspirational stories from nurses around the country from Lippincott Solutions 2018 Inspired Nurses: the Heroes of Healthcare Calendar.


Take time to be inspired by stories. Listen to other's stories whether it is a conversation you initiate with the person sitting next to you on the subway, talking with your patients, or reading stories. Stories are a gift that will warm your heart, make you laugh, or remind you why you chose this great profession called nursing.