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Narratives of mental health nursing in the emergency department
journal contributionposted on 06.04.2018, 00:00 by T Price, Margaret McallisterMargaret Mcallister
The telling, listening to, and re-telling of stories is a fundamental human activity. In the mental health context, storytelling can take on another layer of meaning, when clinicians begin to be more conscious of the stories they hear, recall these, and then re-tell them to their clients and carers. This process has many benefits. It helps to clarify communication between someone who may not be very trusting, with another who may not fully understand; and it can reconnect mental health clinicians with a deeply embedded cultural value that can be overwhelmed by the bio-medical approach – professional empathy. This article argues that the conscious use of re-storying, an aspect of Story Theory, can extend mental health nursing practice, deepening the quality of the interpersonal relationship so that the patient, family and nurse can mutually achieve greater understanding of needs and goals, and transform a crisis into a turning point. This suggests that stories shared, reflected upon and re-storied are not only relevant in creative practice terms, but can also contribute to health and wellbeing.