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Thank-you cards : reclaiming a nursing student ritual and releasing its transformative potential
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Margaret McallisterMargaret Mcallister
The giving of a ‘‘thank-you card’’ to the staff of a health service in which clinical experience was gained, is common practice amongst nursing students in Australia. Group reflection, or debriefing, following the clinical experience is also a common practice. As rituals in nursing, they can become routinised, taken for-granted and have little meaning or influence. This paper discusses an educational activity devised by the author that aimed to transform a relatively innocuous practice into one that had empowering potential for students, giving them voice inthe health service culture and emphasizing the need for a more humanized workforce, one that actively seeks out opportunities to give each other helpful feedback so that change is ongoing. The activity drew upon narrative pedagogy, showing students how stories combined with rituals have transformative potential not only for themselves as students, but for the entire culture of nursing. The paper argues that cultural change need not be monumental for it to have enduring effect and it is within the jurisdiction of even the most junior student. The ‘‘thank-you card’’ ritual that students commonly use can be reclaimed and extended so that students become activists in the building of a more humanistic, supportive nursing and learning culture.