#Blogtober: The stories we tell

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26 / 10 / 2014 12.01am

By West Midlands Ambulance Service OD Team, and Jacynth Brown

#Blogtober Day: Sunday 26 October

As an OD team in West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, we have a belief of regularly developing together; it’s our safe place to stay sharp so that we can provide the right experiences in the right way to enable us to support others to ‘stay sharp’.  One way we do this is by hosting a themed conference every year. 

Last year’s theme was about innovation and storytelling and the closing address, delivered by Jacynth Brown non-executive director, was so powerful it stands on its own:

Innovation and storytelling, wow, who would have thought that the two would go together? 

Over the years we have heard a lot about innovation and innovating to stay current and ahead of the game.  Story telling has been less popular.  Often I hear people bemoan the challenge of innovating along with the need to deliver evidence-based practice… ”we must have the evidence or how do we know it will work?”.

A good question to ask is, “what is the power of storytelling and innovation in the real world of the NHS?”  Does it really fit?  Well if you think about it we are constantly telling stories, sharing accounts of people and events that have crossed our paths, talking about things that went well and recounting the times things didn’t go so well.

Why do I tell you these stories?  They are my stories, my experiences; these are the stories of so many, the stories I grew up on and the stories that have made me who I am.

What are your stories?  What has been your journey up until now?  It's time that these stories had a different ending.

It is said that we are all wired to tell stories; they take place in our imagination and are a pathway to engaging our right brain and triggering our imagination.  Stories help us to see things differently and increase our empathy for others.  Through our imagination we tap into creativity that is the foundation for innovation, self-discovery and change.

My question to you all is what are the stories that you tell and how do those stories challenge and encourage change and innovation?  What are you going to do differently, how are you going to challenge yourself and your colleagues to think differently.  We all know the saying ‘if you keep on doing what you’ve always done you will always get what you always got!’

At some point in time we all need to be encouraged to think differently and to innovate so let’s dare to dream and let’s start telling stories.

The full text is a great example of how to tell a powerful story and you can read it here.

Jacynth Brown has over 25 years of NHS experience, starting her career as a nurse, midwife, and health visitor.  She progressed throughout her career to become an Executive Director of Clinical Leadership within a Primary Care Trust and an Acting Director of Nursing within a Strategic Health Authority.  Jacynth has been an active member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and can be contacted via email address.

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