a beautiful mind


When I wrote my paper, I believed it to be crap. And no, that wasn’t me being negative. That was me knowing it wasn’t my best work. I felt the paper started with a bang but fizzled in the end since I was pressed for time, needing to get to work.

But my professor thought it was “beautifully done!”. I got an ‘A’. I currently have 100% in this class. It is a theory/teaching class which involves a lot of writing. So go figure I have an ‘A’ in a writing class. Duh;)  I love to write. BUT, and this is a big but: I have a 75% in my nursing assessment class. WTF?!?

I can’t seem to get my shit together for this class which involves so much ridiculous memorization and then diagnosing. I spent the past three years NOT diagnosing. I see the question on the test and it asks me to guess what little Jimmy has. How the phuck should I know what little Jimmy has? He either has ebola or he has a cold, I don’t know. Christ! I will fail if I don’t achieve 80%.

And oh, I just finished an overnight shift where the patient was screaming to call the cops because I wouldn’t give him morphine, oxycontin and valium all at once. That wasted 30 minutes of my time and ALL of my patience. And then there was the CNA who was literally standing next to a patient’s room entering data into the kiosk on the wall while the patient’s call bell was going off. Right beside her! She wouldn’t go into the room until I walked pass her and asked if he was ok. Seriously?

I really want to quit this job but I’m learning way too much and they are being really flexible with my schedule, and my mistakes. So maybe I will transfer after my vay-kay:) One of the patients said to me this morning. “A lot of people are gonna miss you when you leave.” LOL! “when” not “if”:) He’s one of my favorite patients, a war veteran, loves to curse out people, but the people almost always deserve it.

So this is my life. I’m teetering on failing a class, with a physical assessment midterm coming up this Monday. So, I can’t seem to get very upset about it since I want to go to medical school anyway. And I really didn’t mean to talk so much about myself, but I haven’t been to therapy in awhile and writing is very therapeutic, sooooooooooo…

So, short story long, here’s the beautiful paper from a beautiful mind🙂

Tell Me a Story: The Use of Storytelling in Nursing
Teaching Strategies
X University
School of Nursing

Learning and teaching are inseparable. Neither can stand alone and neither can operate in a vacuum. Both must be interactive and complement one another. There are several learning theories and many teaching strategies. This paper describes one of many learning theories: cognitive development of socio-cultural historical influences. This paper also identifies one teaching strategy: storytelling. The research findings suggest cognitive development of socio-cultural historical influences and storytelling are interactive as well as complement one another. This paper applies the afore-mentioned learning theory and teaching strategy to andragogy: adult learning. This paper presents multiple literary resources which discuss the various benefits of storytelling in the academic and professional setting and posits the use of storytelling can create better outcomes in nursing education and nursing practice when applied to adult learners.
Keywords: storytelling in nursing, andragogy, paradigm shift in nursing education

.Tell Me a Story: The Use of Storytelling in Nursing

There are several learning theories by which knowledge can be assimilated by nursing students and applied to their nursing practice. One such theory is cognitive development focusing on socio-cultural historical influences. As there are many learning theories, there are various teaching strategies by which to apply each theory. One such strategy is storytelling. The research suggests storytelling aligns with the major tenets of cognitive development of socio-cultural historical influences. This paper explores and examines the afore-mentioned learning theory and teaching strategy as it applies to andragogy: the art of adult learning.

Literature Review
Billings and Halstead (2012) describe a learning theory as the foundation that directs the teacher’s mode of instruction to his or her students, “Learning theories focus on how people learn” (p. 206). Billings and Halstead (2012) define the premise of one such learning theory, cognitive development: socio-cultural historical influence: “Learning is interactive and occurs in a social, historical context. Knowledge, ideas, attitudes, and values are developed as a result of relationships with people. Transformative learning occurs through social interactions that are situated in authentic environments” (p. 217).

This theory involves the sharing of thoughts and ideas between learners. The teacher must have working knowledge of the competing differences and diversities presented by the learners and must also act as facilitator to broach and direct a wide variety of topics. Students have the opportunity to share their experiences from their own unique perspective with other students with differing experiences. This sharing and dialoging creates an environment rich in reflective thought: “Faculty can encourage student identification of the socio-cultural nature of their previous learning through personal reflection, storytelling and comparisons between textbook or clinical examples and their own experience” (Billings and Halstead, 2012, p. 218).

Storytelling is one of many communication tools used in the socio-cultural historical influences theory. As such, the teaching strategy that complements it is storytelling, defined by Billings and Halstead (2012) as dialogue “that involves a conversation between two or more people” (p. 269). Storytelling as a teaching strategy is consistent with the major tenets of the socio-cultural theory. Haigh and Hardy (2011) state , “stories are reflective, creative and value laden, usually revealing something important about the human condition” (p. 408). Storytelling in education can create a sense of unity amongst students and provide a safe place to voice their fears and concerns (Haigh and Hardy, 2011). In healthcare, storytelling “can be beneficial to patients in creating an environment for the sharing of experience and the creation of supportive groupings… [and has] also been used to explore and erode symbolic boundaries between medics and nurses” (Haigh and Hardy, 2011, p. 410).

Banks (2012) asserts another benefit of storytelling can be to advance health equity research:
An African proverb says “until lions have their own ‘story tellers’ tales of a lion hunt will always glorify the hunter.” As long as researchers have sole responsibility for collecting and analyzing data, interventions will reflect researchers’ stories about what is important for advancing health equity… Storytelling may be an especially vital tool for building trust between researchers and populations where historical or on-going oppression, marginalization, power imbalance, and abuse of participants within the research context are part of the collective memory. (pp. 395, 396)

Christiansen (2011) continues with the benefits of storytelling:
[T]hrough an emotional and reflective engagement with multiple perspectives storytelling can bring about learning that involves a transformation in how students view themselves others and with implications for practice. Peer dialogue and conversation provide opportunities for students to clarify and share ideas, develop critical thinking and validate new ways of thinking that place the patient experience at the centre of learning. (p. 293)

What is also now at the center of learning is the student. In the past and still present in some learning settings the teacher was the center of learning and gave direction without addressing the students’ differences or styles of assimilating knowledge. As adults have become students, different learning is needed. Andragogy, as popularized by Malcolm Knowles, is learning specifically for adults (Keesee, 2011). Knowles asserts that adult learners have six characteristics:
1. Self-concept: adults are self-directed;
2. Experience: adults learn and draw from their own past experiences;
3. Readiness to learn: adults are more interested in information that is relevant to them;
4. Orientation to learning: adults need immediate application to solve problems;
5. Motivation to learn: adults are motivated by self esteem, curiosity and achievement;
6. Relevance: adults need to know the relevance of the material being presented. (Keesee, 2012)

Kantor (2010) also discusses the importance of moving away from the teacher centered, didactic, content laden approach of teaching:
A linear thinking approach is replaced with an understanding of multiple perspectives and critical thinking skills are further enhanced. The significance of self-reflection and being open to new teaching and learning approaches has implications for nurse educators and consequentially nursing education. (p. 417)

Cognitive development focusing on socio-cultural historical influences and storytelling can be applied to adult learners on many levels. Adults have varied experiences to share. Sharing their stories will validate their knowledge and also give them the respect they may feel they have earned. Adult learners may find a readiness to share storytelling to impart their knowledge to others as they have more confidence in themselves and their capabilities. Storytelling for adults may bridge gaps between younger adults and older adults and foster more cooperation in academia and the workplace.

Limitations of These Literary References
Some teachers may not feel comfortable directing such a broad, diverse population. Having knowledge of all cultures may be a daunting task for some teachers. There is also the skill of engaging students and patients to share their personal experiences in an environment they may not feel safe in. There may also be an issue of getting students to focus on specific, relevant issues. Not all will find this style of learning to be productive and may tune out.

There are numerous learning theories and teaching strategies from which to draw from. Adult learners must be advocates for their own learning style and discover ways to have their voices heard. Not one shoe will fit everyone, but if there can be a way for each individual adult learner to walk in someone else’s shoes, if only for a moment, nursing education and nursing practice can make great forward strides.

Banks, J. (2012). Storytelling to access social context and advance health equity research. Preventive Medicine, 55(5), 394?397. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.10.015

Billings, D. M., & Halstead, J. A. (2012). Teaching in Nursing: A Guide for Faculty (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders.

Christiansen, A. (2011). Storytelling and professional learning: A phenomenographic study of students’ experience of patient digital stories in nurse education. Nurse Education Today, 31, 289-293. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2010.10.006

Haigh, C., & Hardy, P. (2011). Tell me a story: A conceptual exploration of storytelling in healthcare education. Nurse Education Today, 31(4), 408-411. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2010.08.001

Kantor, S. A. (2010). Pedagogical Change in Nursing Education: One instructor’s Experience. Journal of Nursing Education, 49(7), 414-417. doi:10.3928/01484834-20100331-06

Keesee , G. S. (2011, March 14). Teaching and Learning Resources / Andragogy: Adult learning theory [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://teachinglearningresources.pbworks.com/w/page/30310516/Andragogy–Adult%20Learning%20Theory

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