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  • Pip Hardy, Tony Sumner

Cultivating Compassion: How Digital Storytelling is Transforming Healthcare


This book explores how digital storytelling can catalyze change in healthcare. Edited by the co-founders of the award-winning Patient Voices Programme, the authors discuss various applications for this technique; from using digital storytelling as a reflective process, to the use of digital stories in augmenting quantitative data. Through six main sections this second edition covers areas including healthcare education, patient engagement, quality improvement and the use of digital storytelling research. The chapters illuminate how digital storytelling can lead to greater humanity, understanding and, ultimately, compassion. This collection will appeal to those involved in delivering, managing or receiving healthcare and healthcare education and research, as well as people interested in digital storytelling and participatory media.


“Stories have tremendous transformational potential. This updated edition by Pip Hardy, Tony Sumner and colleagues draws on a wealth of experience of collecting, analysing and disseminating the stories of patients and staff to transform organisations using digital media. There is no magic formula here but many rich examples from which we can learn.” (Trish Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, UK)

“This excellent book provides a clear and succinct background to the philosophy and application of Patient Voices. Grounded in practice, the book emphasises the importance of service user involvement, focuses on topical issues and is of particular relevance to promoting care, compassion, team working and communication. New chapters for the second edition promote the power of storytelling to the process of interprofessional education in end of life care and to the support and facilitation of resilience amongst health care staff. This valuable contribution to practice is highly relevant at the present time and recommended to all professionals working in health and social care.” (Dr Richard Gray, Chair of the Centre for Advancement of Interprofessional Education, UK)

“Hardy’s and Sumner’s newest edition provides a thoughtful, useful process for understanding other human beings more deeply. Timely and relevant to educators, researchers, and the general public, the stories in this book capture urgent topics of interest for all while encouraging reflection on our own stories and those of others while looking for new ways to enhance communicating on our collaborative learning journeys.” (Dr Jo Ann Bamdas, Director, Office of Interprofessional Education, Florida Atlantic University, USA)

“This excellent book is an important contribution to the growing body of literature on digital storytelling where scholars and practitioners worldwide share their experiences and collaborate in developing both the many ways digital storytelling is used and our understanding of how and why this approach to knowledge is so powerful. I frequently introduce Patient Voices stories to my students, both in healthcare and other programs, to inspire their own reflective work towards developing a personal professional identity. The particular value of this book, from an educationalist point of view, is the solid foundation of lived experience combined with reflections and theoretical discussions - and the way these perspectives mutually enrich each other.” (Grete Jamissen, professor emerita, Oslo and Akershus University College, Oslo, Norway)

“Discovering Pip, Tony, Patient Voices and Digital Storytelling [all in one go!] has, without shadow of doubt, been the most pivotal experience of my whole career. There’s something magical about where a digital story takes our imagination, provoking us into new ways of seeing the world. This second edition of ‘Cultivating Compassion’ includes a new chapter dedicated to ‘The DNA of Care’, an NHS England project that emphasised the importance of reflecting the experiences of NHS staff…human beings, with needs and stories of our own to share. This book is a ‘must read’ for medical educators looking for new ways to inspire their learners & promote reflection but it is also for anyone who wishes to recall the joy & privilege to be had in hearing & learning from our patients’ stories, which, after all, lies at the heart of providing our best and most ethical care.” (Dr Ruth Bromley, Lead for Ethics & Law, Manchester Medical School and Clinical Fellow in Clinical Communication Skills, Ethics and Law, University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, UK)

“There is an increased understanding in healthcare that safe, compassionate care involves hearing and working with a multiplicity of voices - patients foremost, but also all members of the wider healthcare team. This comprehensive collection of essays provides thoughtful guidance for incorporating patient and staff narratives into all aspects of care improvement: from education to research to safety. It will be invaluable to anyone involved in the endeavour of improving care.” (Dr Cat Chatfield, Quality Improvement Editor, the BMJ)

About the Authors

Pip Hardy is a co-founder of the Patient Voices Programme. She has degrees in English Literature and Lifelong Learning and qualifications in counseling and adult education. Her PhD examined the potential of digital storytelling to transform healthcare.

Tony Sumner is a co-founder of the Patient Voices Programme. He has degrees in physics, astronomy and astrophysics and a background in the software industry. His research interests relate to the possibilities afforded by technology to promote deep reflection

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