Re-Collection and Re-Presentation of The Story of a Nursing Situation

Savina O. Schoenhofer, PhD, RN
Anne Boykin, PhD, RN

February 14, 2021

A nursing situation is a shared lived experience of the caring between nurse and one(s) nursed.

 1. Re-Collection of Your Most Beautiful Nursing Moment

You are invited to enter a quiet contemplative inner space.  Allow the attentions and distractions of the moment to recede as you create quietude.  Now, bring to life the most beautiful nursing you have ever done.  Recall that precious instance that stands out for you as truly nursing.  Recall the details – sights, sounds, smells of the situation; who was there? What were your surroundings?  Fully immerse yourself in the recollected scene – bring it to life.  Allow yourself to dwell in that nursing moment.  

 2.Re-Presentation of Your Nursing Situation

When you are ready, write the story you just relived, telling the story of the caring between you and your patient(s).

When you have finished writing the story, add one sentence, a sentence that flows naturally from within the story, a sentence that begins:  Nursing is…

Sharing the story of your nursing situation.  When you share your story with others, reading it aloud or sharing it in writing keeps the telling focused and helps to crystallize the meaning.

3. The Story of a Nursing Situation as Text

  • If you are in an educational process, use this story as the basis/reference point for your study.  For example, when you are studying nursing theories, re-interpret this nursing situation from the perspective and in the language of the theory you are studying.  As you study various theories, notice which one(s) best communicate(s) the meaning the story holds for you.
  • Re-present the story of your nursing situation aesthetically, using any medium you choose – for example, painting, song, dance, sculpture, poetry, fiber art etc.

Notes to Teachers and Group Leaders

  • To help insure that participants are recalling and representing nursing situations (stories of caring between nurse and nursed) and not impersonal “case studies”, it is important that the invitation be communicated as expressed in 1. above. 
  • Recalling deeply personal meaningful nursing situations is sometimes accompanied by tears; tune in to what is happening with participants and acknowledge the poignancy of meaningful nursing stories. 
  • Sharing their meaningful nursing situations facilitates mutual recognition and respect in a group.
  • Written stories of nursing situations and aesthetic representations of those nursing situations can be displayed creatively in classroom, work spaces etc. to tell the story of Nursing, honor and encourage the caring spirit of Nursing.
  • An excellent resource for studying/learning about nursing from the perspective of nursing situations is Barry, C., Gordon, S., & King, B.  (2015) Nursing case studies in caring:  Across the practice spectrum, Springer.