Document Type


Article Version


Publication Date



Nurses in all settings interact with individuals often identified as vulnerable or marginalized, and at times are frustrated by their own inability to “make a difference.” By allowing oneself to listen, a fuller appreciation of the individual circumstance, or that which is unwritten, can be appreciated. Storytelling is a way to set the stage for experiences to be shared and can provide insight into lives. The narratives told by patients are often complex, affected by various influences of the environment, and personal, which in combination with nursing informs their individual healing journeys. Using a philosophy of nursing that encompasses all of the distinct influences on these narratives can allow nurses to more holistically care and advocate for their patients. As this case study shows, nursing plays a significant role in the narratives of others. Although many vulnerable populations live in a perpetual cycle of poverty and poor health, some nurses are able to assess the intricacies of a situation and facilitate understanding, as part of their support, caring, and advocacy for their patients.


Copyright 2015 Sage Publications. Post-print has been archived here with permission from the copyright holder. Version of record published May 2016. Published online before print June 18, 2015, doi: 10.1177/0898010115591396

Publication Title

Journal of Holistic Nursing

Published Citation

Alicea-Planas, J. (2016). Listening to the narratives of our patients as part of holistic nursing care. Journal of Holistic Nursing. doi: 10.1177/0898010115591396



Peer Reviewed