Storytelling training: The story of self
This blog was written by Amy Staley, a Staff Nurse working on an Orthopedic/Vascular Medical Surgical unit at NYP/Weill Cornell.
Amy was announced as one of the winners of the recent Nursing Now Challenge Global Solutions Initiative, in partnership with the Sabin Vaccine Institute, to elevate the voices and perspectives of nurses and midwives with the aim of influencing discussions and decisions on vaccine equity and acceptance at local, national and global levels.
My storytelling training experience with the Sabin Vaccine Institute has been captivating, engaging, and empowering. Hearing all of the incredible stories from our storytelling trainers and other participants has been an incredible experience thus far.
On our second week of training, we focused on the “Story of Self”. Within the “Story of Self”, there are three main components: Challenge, Choice, and Outcome. When writing our own stories, we have taken into account these three pieces to create a synchronous narrative to best describe why we are “Who we are”. Hearing the powerful stories of others and writing my own has been a truly powerful experience. To see the true components which make up each of these incredible humans has been amazing. As nurses, we dive into the lives of strangers each and every day, often times for 12+ hours at a time. Having the opportunity to dive into the lives of nurses from different backgrounds, experiences, and countries, is a truly remarkable experience. Through our “Stories of Self”, I have learned more about the upbringing and backgrounds of each individual, which have also shown me why each individual has chosen to pursue the incredible field of nursing. To quote one of our storytelling trainers, Sarah ElRaheb, “Your job is what you do. Your calling, is why you do it”. To be a good speaker, one must also be a good listener. I have enjoyed hearing all of the details and incredible stories from my fellow classmates and trainers.
Through this storytelling experience, I have felt so connected to each speaker, both our trainers and my fellow classmates. Through the “Story of Self” we have broken down barriers to reveal our true identities. I have enjoyed relating to the stories of others, and feeling their emotions through their words. This storytelling experience has not only been an educational experience, but a healing experience as well. While many healthcare workers have shared traumatic experiences and stories about this past year, many others are not yet ready to speak about what they’ve endured. I feel that having a safe space to share emotions has allowed each of us in this group to heal and grow as we continue to work through this pandemic. We have all experienced challenges, which have changed us, resulting in an outcome of resilience.
I hope to share the communication and storytelling skills that I continue to learn throughout this experience with fellow nurses at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. I look forward to assisting others in embracing their untold stories and sharing them proudly with the rest of the world. I also believe that these new skills will amplify my voice within my project to increase vaccine adherence and acceptance in the United States by learning to convey stories and experiences in a clear, concise, and organized manner. By being vulnerable and sharing my story with others, it is my hope that other individuals will consider accepting the COVID-19 vaccine.
I look forward to these next few weeks of learning, sharing stories, and speaking with one another. Every individual has a unique “Story of Self.” Mine has just begun.