Learning to tell a story of self, a story of us, a story of now

IHI Open School

Southeast IHI Open School Forum: Public Narrative Workshop

As the 4th Annual South Carolina Patient Safety Symposium came to a close on March 17, the South Carolina IHI Open School leadership team launched the 1st Annual Southeast Regional IHI Open School Forum at the Marriott Columbia. With more than 385 students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, this was the largest regional forum to date. 

The Organizing for Health (OfH) team led the forum, focusing on the leadership practice of public narrative and how it connects to health care issues that South Carolinians face today. They explained to the students how they could use the public narrative in recruiting a community team focused on population health, attracting partners in efforts to improve the patients’ experience in a hospital or outpatient care setting and engaging patients in sharing responsibility for their health care outcomes.

Kate B. Hilton, director of OfH, and Matt Lewis, domain leader for OfH, introduced the three aspects of public narrative – self, us and now. They discussed the power of linking “your story” – why you are called to service – with values shared by the community to inspire others to action. Hilton and Lewis explained that by linking their stories with the shared values of the community, students can solve problems, face challenges and make changes to benefit all.

To highlight the importance of details in a story, a video of renowned author J.K. Rowling speaking at a Harvard University graduation ceremony was presented. Workshop participants learned that it is crucial to be specific and visual in their details. Evoking a particular time and place, a specific setting or mood, and describing vivid colors and tastes will draw in the listener. Engaging your head and heart is the key to delivering a narrative that instructs, inspires and motivates.

Finally, workshop participants paired off to share their stories of self with one another. Each partner was encouraged to listen and explore the other’s story by asking pointed questions. These questions served as a coaching tool to help each student deliver a more effective, compelling public narrative.

The Southeast IHI Open School Forum put OfH’s overarching theme of organizing health and health care into a real-world context and ignited it with a “can-do” sensibility, giving students the tools and the confidence to actively recruit others to the cause as they grow into the next generation of health care leaders. 

As “the Transformational Journey Continues,” it’s mantra is carried on through those who are working to organize and improve health and health care in South Carolina. If you’d like more information on this workshop or want to get more involved with IHI Open School, contact Kimberly Hubbard, khubbard@scha.org.

05-18-2011 10:39 (EDT)