Hearing Voices: Re/Presenting the Findings of Narrative Research into Patient Experience as Poems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Research into the patient's perspective on their care is being given increasing importance within health and nurse education policy, predicated upon the idea that the findings represent the patient experience. Researchers have power to silence the voices of research participants through the process of authorship. Exploring the arts as a means of presenting findings offers the opportunity problematize issues of power and authorship, and examine ways of decentring the researcher's voice. Re/presentation of patient experience in poetic form encourages readers to engage with that experience as they have to actively interpret the meaning of the poem. Researchers interested in examining and conveying the experience of others should be encouraged to problematize issues of authorship and consider the impact of their authority on the re/presentation of the experience of the other.

The study aimed to understand the experience of being a patient on an acute psychiatric inpatient ward. A further aim was to open up spaces for the voices of participants to be heard. Contemporary government policy places patient experience at the centre of healthcare policy and service development. Despite this, those who occupy marginalized discourses struggle to be heard within the dominant discourse of health care. A qualitative approach was used, and narrative was conceptualized as representing experience. Sociolinguistic theories informed the development of the analytic framework treating meaning as contextual and arising from both content and structure of narratives. Concepts of representation, voice and authorship were problematized. Thirteen people who had been inpatients on an acute psychiatric inpatient ward participated. Narrative data were gathered using unstructured interviews. The data were analysed holistically using a method that attended to both the structure and content of the narrative. The product of these holistic narratives was the development of a poem representing each participant's experience. This paper focuses on the development of these poems as a method of decentring the authorial voice and opening up spaces for the voices of the participants to be heard.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Early online date3 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2013

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • discourse
  • narrative
  • patient perspective
  • power
  • qualitative approaches


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  • Transformations

    Rosie Stenhouse (Participant)

    7 Oct 2013

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

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