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Authors

  1. Burrai, Francesco PhD, RN
  2. Mettifogo, Mariangela MSN, RN
  3. Micheluzzi, Valentina MSN, RN
  4. Ferreira, Flavia Emanuela MSN, RN
  5. Pinna, Leonardo MSN, RN
  6. Magavern, Emma Forton MD

Abstract

Narrative-based practice has been developed to bring the health care aspects of illness and treatment closer to the psychosocial and life experiences of a patient. It gives value to the lived experience by using writing tools, spoken words, poetry, drawing, and photography. Nephrology has become one of the first health care fields, likely due to its large patient burden of both critical and chronic disease, to use narrative-based practice. The use of narrative-based practice in renal care explores the lived experience through structured and semistructured interviews with patients, caregivers, and health care providers. The principle topics discussed are the lack of a "disease identity" that would allow patients to identify themselves with a specific state of illness, the "uncertainty" of living with an illness characterized by continuous progression and regression, and the living with the "unspeakable" looming specter of death. This review highlights the powerful significance of qualitative knowledge gained with the narrative method. Increased awareness of these aspects of patients' lived experiences can help nurses improve the quality and effectiveness of the therapeutic relationship between patient and health care professional and may offer a promising approach, within this relationship, to decreasing patient feelings of isolation.