Using arts-based digital storytelling in neonatal care to enhance nursing students’ empathy
Background; Patient stories can be used to teach difficult topics about emotionally challenging times. Digital storytelling using an arts-based approach can improve nurses’ understanding of emotional experiences relating to experiences of parents following the birth of their sick, premature baby. Aim; To explore the contribution of art-based digital storytelling based on parent’s experiences of neonatal care, to the enhancement of empathy in children’s nurses. Methods; Digital stories based on parent narratives were constructed following the ASPIRE stepwise framework. A mixed-methods approach was then used with 67 children’s nursing students who evaluated three digital stories for emotional impact and potential for enhancing empathy.Results; The range of arts-based, multi-media aspects of the digital stories was well-received and had an emotional impact in relation to the ability to evoke an affective response or communicate important messages relevant to caring for parents’ emotional needs. Factors within the digital stories both enhanced and hindered learning about the parent experience. Conclusion; In neonatal care, digital stories using an arts-based approach serve as an impactful way for student nurses to learn about the emotional experiences of parents, so that they can come to understand and empathise with them.