University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Where Social Justice, Digital Storytelling, and Nursing Intersect

 The first Seedworks Social Justice Symposium at UMass Amherst in Fall, 2015. The digital stories created in the first social justice digital storytelling workshop at UMass were screened at this event.

The first Seedworks Social Justice Symposium at UMass Amherst in Fall, 2015. The digital stories created in the first social justice digital storytelling workshop at UMass were screened at this event.

Nurstory is working with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst's College of Nursing to help nurses identify and capture how and why health is a human right. Following our second Nurstory workshop at UMASS in the fall of 2016, we're collaborating with faculty on the annual Seedworks Social Justice Symposium. In 2017, we will be leading College of Nursing faculty through a train-the-trainers model, to prepare them as facilitators of the digital storytelling process and assist them in integrating the methodology into their classes.

Read Dr. Raeanne Leblanc's paper: Digital Stories in Online Advanced Practice Nursing Education, to learn more about how digital stories can be used as tools for meaning making in the nursing classroom. After taking a workshop, Dr. Leblanc is using Nurstories in many of her courses, to prompt critical reflection and discussion around ethics and practice. She is also using other digital stories from StoryCenter's archives, including stories on Culture Change in Long Term Care.

Our latest workshop with UMASS College of Nursing faculty was geared towards stories of how nurses deal with the prescription opiate crisis, among their patient populations.

Participating in the Nurstory workshop at UMass Amherst was an amazing experience for learning both the process of creating a digital story, and also for the learning processes of dialogue that digital stories, created among a community of nurses, can inspire. In coming together over the creation and witnessing of Nurstories, we get a deeper sense of ourselves, our humanity, and the agency that nurses manifest in the telling of their stories and the witnessing of others telling stories. Learning the process of creating a digital story also inspired my course design in new ways, and the way my students and I engaged as a learning community. These digital stories were integrated as an important aspect of student learning– reflective practice and entering into dialogue– that is central to a learning process that emphasizes the meaning of our professional roles. Connections were created through both individual and shared interpretation on themes such as social justice and nursing ethics, central to the practice, research, and education of nursing professionals.
— Dr. Raeanne Leblanc, assistant clinical professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
First, I would like to applaud the effort of putting NURSTORY together that I ended up viewing the ten stories. I believe in the power of creative arts, it tells exactly what is from one’s heart. As a foreign nurse transplanted in the United States, it helps me think of the challenges one encounters from the home country and the transformation that one chooses as part of healing. Her personal experience is so vivid that I can imagine her struggling to find its meaning. As she reflects on her personal past and the community she belongs, she finds the answer that haunts her - she belongs to the community where the importance of health care is significant, it holds the key between life and death. Leaving to go back is a positive concept, its looking forward to be able to help heal the community she left behind. We all share the same, leaving to go back, but the choice is ours.
— TMP, nursing student at UMass Amherst, commenting on Nellie Lewis' story