The Power of the Narrative....It's Here!!! The Healthcare Narrative Playbook

I often hear..."so what do you "do" in your work?" Perhaps the best way to describe what I "do" is that I help individuals and organizations recognize and enhance what is going right when often a lot is also going wrong. In other words, I help to cultivate resilience. What I have learned, and continue to learn each day, is that to build resilience we need to tell, share, listen and understand our narratives -- identifying the hero's journey which we all travel. In the healthcare world, the fullness of our human experience is often cloaked in a diagnosis, rendering us a series of test results, medications and prognostications. The "person" is often lost while the patient's diagnosis is tended to. We enter the healthcare world with a story but we leave with a can we continue to support and hear our stories and narratives along side the diagnosis?

So it is was with great pleasure that I accepted an invitation from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to be one of 30 thought-leaders from the United States and the United Kingdom in the field of health care narrative to gather together in Providence RI at the Business Innovation Factory to collaborate and create the first Healthcare Narrative Playbook. I am very proud of the depth and breadth of this interactive playbook as both a resource and guide, whether we are a caregiver, patient, clinician, clergy, friend or family member, tell, share, listen and understand our experience of health, illness and healing. Here is a 4 minute video explaining the concept: Healthcare Narrative Playbook Video

What can you do with the playbook? First, take some time to peruse through the various sections. Many of us have added our personal stories to the pages. Try some of the suggestions. Sample some of the resources listed. And most of all please share widely with your friends, caregivers, and community. Finally, I would welcome your comments and thoughts about the Healthcare Narrative Playbook -- what did you find helpful and what could be improved, as this is meant to be a living, breathing document...ultimately empowering and building resilience and changing our culture of health.