Practice-related feedback: How a patient’s poem helped staff appreciate a person-centred approach

Positive learner feedback reinforces lecturer practitioner Carol Forde-Johnston’s use of patients’ voices in teaching sessions

Positive feedback reinforces lecturer practitioner Carol Forde-Johnston’s use of patients’ voices in teaching sessions

My role at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where I have been a lecturer practitioner for the past 18 years, focuses on the teaching and development of others. Having always been interested in arts and culture, I regularly use poetry, paintings, videos and narrative cases in my teaching.

Carol Forde-Johnston uses paintings,
poems and videos in her teaching.

During one session I used a poem written by a man describing how Parkinson’s disease made him feel. The poem portrayed powerfully the person behind the ‘mask-like’ expression.

Needs of quieter patients

He wrote eloquently about how staff naturally navigated towards the more animated patients. The poem described how nurses shared a joke with other patients and how the ‘cruel jailer called Parkinson’s’ made him feel ‘imprisoned’ and ‘entombed’.

Feedback from those at the session reflected how much it had made them think of the person rather than their disease. One said: ‘Carol made me think about my communication and the needs of quieter patients, overcoming communication barriers and not just focusing on patients who are easy to communicate with.’

Another session featured a recording of a woman discussing her tracheostomy. She described how hard it was having ‘a tube stuck in my throat that hurt when suctioned’.  A month later, one of the nurses at the session told me that she now took ‘more time cleaning a patient’s tracheostomy site gently’.

Never stop caring

Another commented: ‘Carol has made me realise how vulnerable patients can feel when they are ill. We should never stop caring for the person and be there to hold their hand.’

The need to treat people with kindness, respect and compassion is fundamental to the Nursing and Midwifery Council code and should underpin nursing education. Feedback I’ve received has emphasised the benefits of integrating personal experience within my teaching sessions to promote a person-centred approach to care.

The learners’ comments reminded me of the importance of including patients’ perspectives to make sure nurses never lose sight of the person they are caring for.


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