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Student's perception of compassionate care stories: evaluation of digital stories in facilitating reflection and discussion.

Waugh, Anne


Anne Waugh


Over the last decade or so, healthcare policy has focused increasingly on making personcentred
values including, treating people with dignity, respect and compassing explicit within
education (NMC, 2010; DOH, 2013) and an integral aspect of professional practice
(Cummings & Bennett, 2012). Narratives of personal experiences can be a powerful tool for
stimulating learning and reflection in many settings including healthcare and healthcare
education (Haigh & Hardy, 2011; Walsh, 2011). This paper evaluates the use of short digital
stories of nursing students’ experiences of compassionate care as a trigger for group
reflection and discussion.
Students were asked to write a short account (500 words) of an experience that had deepened
their understanding of compassionate nursing practice. Students recorded their story at a
workshop; firstly this was as an audio file (suitable for use as a podcast), thereafter copyrightfree
music and still images were added to create a digital story.
Four stories were played at a tutorial session to evaluate other students’ views (n=13) of
their usefulness as a learning activity. Data was gathered using an evaluation questionnaire
that used 7 open-ended questions. The purpose of the session was explained; by providing
anonymous written feedback to each question, if they wished, students provided implied
consent (RCN, 2011). The written feedback was transcribed electronically and a 6-phase
approach of thematic analysis was undertaken (Braun & Clarke, 2006).
Students rapidly engaged in animated discussion after every narrative; they were readily able
to empathise with each situation identifying not only with positive aspects of the situation but
also the underpinning challenges which had formed their focus.
Several themes emerged from the data; these included person-centeredness, compassion,
involvement of patients’ relatives and the importance of effective mentor support. Many
students provided emotional comments about the narratives that had clearly acted as a
powerful trigger for reflection (Atkins & Murphy, 1994). Most were positive although
negative feelings sometimes arose when students’ clinical experience differed from that
highlighted in the story. Data also provided insights into ‘the world of the student nurse’
and some of the challenges student nurses encounter in practice. Quotes will be used to
illustrate these themes.
The study concluded that the narratives quickly trigger constructive individual and group
reflection; in addition, students found watching the stories both enjoyable and useful. The
stories not only provide an authentic learning experience but also offer ready access to the
affective domain of learning, which is notoriously difficult to achieve, as evidenced by data
revealing considerable impact on students’ thoughts and feelings.
Digital stories using this technique are inexpensive to create and could be easily replicated to
illustrate professional practice in any context or culture. A digital story will be played to show
how readily this approach stimulates constructive and meaningful discussion about integration
of theory into compassionate, person-centred clinical practice

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name 18th Conference of East Asian Forum of Nursing Scholars(EAFONS): Integrating sciences and humanities in doctoral nursing education
Start Date Feb 5, 2015
End Date Feb 6, 2015
Publication Date 2015
Deposit Date May 8, 2015
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Digital; narrative; student; nursing; compassion;
Public URL