Journal of Professional Nursing

Once Upon a Time – Story Telling: A Paediatric Perspective 

Steven Neville, RCompN, BA, MCNA (NZ), Senior Tutor, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Education, Christchurch Polytechnic
Kim Chenery, RGON, RSCN, (London), Clinical Specialist/Educator, Paediatric Unit, Christchurch Hospital 

Reference:  Neville, S. & Chenery, K. (1996). Once Upon a Time – Story Telling: A Paediatric Perspective. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 11(3), 14-18.


Nursing historically has transmitted its values, beliefs and knowledge through the use of narrative.  As nurses, we each have our own story to tell.  However, it has been well documented as part of the oral tradition of nursing and associated story telling, that many nurses have silenced their stories, or kept them hidden behind closed doors in order to maintain individual integrity and/or avoid having their opinion openly devalued by others.  This article demonstrated that the combined use of the principles of critical social theory and story telling can be very empowering and liberating for the profession, children and their families.  This article will look at the use of narrative within paediatric nursing practice.  The sharing of stories will create meaning as well as bring one’s own assumptions to bear and perhaps, as a part of reflection, allow nurses to see those assumptions more clearly.

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