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J Nurs Manag. 2004 May;12(3):210-6.

Pain narratives and narrative practitioners: a way of working 'in-relation' with children experiencing pain.

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Department of Nursing, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.


Children's narratives about their pain are often drowned out by the more pervasive, scientific, dominant, academic and professional discourses. The ideas I propose in this paper are drawn from narrative inquiry and from the narrative medicine movement to illustrate how a narrative approach can positively influence nursing (and other) practice. Sharing children's narratives of pain allows to be 'in-relation' with children and their experiences of pain, requiring practitioners to be less distanced and passive. In order to start and to understand their pain we need to be prepared to be hurt by it. Attending to children's stories helps them to articulate their experiences and gives them voice and agency. A narrative approach to practice can help us to be more the sort of professionals we wanted to be, i.e. more generous, more affective, more remembered and more effective. By helping to 'fix' children's broken stories we can help them move towards stories of healing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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