Poetry enhances nursing practice, says researcher

Poetry used in nursing practice enhances self-awareness and coping mechanisms, according to a researcher

Poetry has ‘great potential’ to be part of nurses’ reflective practice, according to a researcher.

University of Birmingham children’s nursing lecturer Marie Clancy won a poetry competition at nine and has continued to express herself through the medium ever since.

Ms Clancy uses poetry in her teaching and said it has a place in nurse education to help nursing students grasp different perspectives and viewpoints.

Speaking at the RCN International Research Conference in Edinburgh today, she said: ‘Poetry is a bit like music – it presents a different lens to things and touches people in a different way to other methods.

‘It can be a powerful, evocative and meaningful thing to use [in teaching].’

Ms Clancy shared examples of poetry she has written at key points in her career.

She said that it helped her to process emotions about experiencing sudden infant death in her practice, as well as child malnutrition during a placement in Malawi.

‘There is a bit of vulnerability to poetry – I feel it can draw other people in and encourage them to be open and share.’

Ms Clancy added that she planned to include poems reflecting on her clinical practice in her revalidation submission.

A fellow nurse praised her approach and said: ‘Poetry comes from the soul not just from the keyboard and the pen.’

Another nurse asked whether poetry could potentially be used in staff meetings as part of the debriefing process.

Ms Clancy’s talk followed a keynote speech by Swansea University emeritus professor of nursing Gary Rolfe.

Professor Rolfe urged nurse academics to reclaim scholarship, arguing that universities were more concerned with funding and research ‘impact’ than with debate and practice based nursing research.





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