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Physician storytelling CME
Kristy Schneider Mar 7, 2023 7:30:24 AM 3 min read

Storytelling in Healthcare Learning and CME

"The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come."

- Steve Jobs

Stories have been an essential part of human communication since the dawn of time. Our ancestors used stories to pass down information, share experiences, and entertain one another. As we have evolved as a species, our methods of storytelling have also advanced, but the power of storytelling has remained constant. It is an essential tool for instruction and learning, especially for healthcare professionals.

In today’s distracted world, instructional designers must engage learners and ensure that they retain the information they are being taught. Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal. Incorporating storytelling into digital learning and continuing medical education can help learners remember important concepts, feel connected to the material, and become more invested in the learning process.

There are several ways in which instructional designers can use storytelling to enhance learning for healthcare professionals. One effective method is to create case studies that allow learners to explore real-life scenarios and apply the concepts they have learned in a practical setting. Case studies can be presented in a narrative format, with characters and a storyline that engages the learner and makes the material more memorable.

Another way to incorporate storytelling into learning is through the use of analogies and metaphors. These can be powerful tools for explaining complex medical concepts in a way that is easy for learners to understand. Drawing an analogy between the human body and a machine or complex system can serve as an effective pedagogical device for learners, as it enables them to visualize the intricate interplay of various components that operate in concert to sustain optimal health.

The human brain is wired to remember stories better than facts and figures. This is because stories activate multiple regions of the brain, including the language centers, visual cortex, and emotional centers. When we hear a story, we are not just processing information; we are experiencing it on an emotional level. This emotional connection is what makes stories so memorable and can help learners retain information more effectively.

In addition to their memorability, stories can also help learners connect with the material on a deeper level. When we hear a story that resonates with us, we are more likely to become invested in the outcome and remember the lessons we have learned. This is especially important for healthcare professionals who are dealing with real-life situations that can have important consequences. By incorporating stories into their learning materials, instructional designers can help these professionals become more engaged and invested in their work.

There are several reasons why storytelling is particularly effective in the healthcare field. First, healthcare is a complex and ever-changing field that requires professionals to learn and adapt to new information constantly. Stories can help learners make sense of this information and understand how it applies to real-life situations.

Second, healthcare professionals often work in high-stress environments that can make it difficult to retain information. By engaging learners on an emotional level, stories can help them stay focused and remember important concepts even in stressful situations.

Finally, healthcare professionals work with people who are often facing difficult and emotionally charged situations. By incorporating stories into their learning materials, instructional designers can help these professionals develop the empathy and compassion they need to provide the best possible care.

Storytelling is a powerful tool for instructional designers to engage learners and enhance the learning process. By using stories to present information in a memorable and meaningful way, healthcare professionals can better understand and apply the concepts they are learning. Stories can also help learners connect with the material on an emotional level, become more invested in the learning process, and develop the empathy and compassion they need to provide the best possible care. As the healthcare field continues to evolve, the importance of storytelling in learning will only continue to grow.



Kristy Schneider

Kristy is the VP of Learning for Pivto Digital Learning. She is an instructional designer and a digital education specialist. She has worked for Scholastic, the University of Missouri, and other leading organizations. Kristy holds a Bachelor's Degree from St. Louis University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia.