Power of Stories in Patient and Family-Centered Care (HLOL #72)

Marlene Fondrick helps patients share their stories as a way to advance the practice of patient and family-centered care. This work builds on Fondrick’s clinical and administrative experiences as a nurse and hospital vice president. Fondrick adds to this mix her perspective as grandmother of a young child who was diagnosed with cancer.

In this podcast, Marlene Fondrick talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • The power of stories in patient- and family-centered care.
  • Examples of real-life stories that have made a difference in patient care.
  • Ways to help patients share their stories, including the most important questions to ask.

More Ways to Learn:

  • Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care. Available at http://www.ipfcc.org/
  • Crocker L, Johnson B, Privileged Presence: Personal Stories of Connection in Health Care. 2006, Bull Publishing Company.
  • Osborne, H. “In Other Words…Tool of Change: Telling and Listening to Stories,” On Call, October 16, 2008. Available at http://healthliteracy.com/telling-stories

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 11, 31, 41.

Read a transcript of this podcast.


  1. When Marlene relayed her patients’ comments around finding it hard to believe that anyone would listen to their stories – it sure rang true with the people I’ve worked with who share their stories. I am first and foremost a storyteller (thanks to spending my childhood with a storytelling Scottish Granny), but since 2006 I have been incorporating story gathering and telling into my work in the non profit world. I recently presented at a TEDx Talk gathering in Victoria in Canada about the evolution and power of story. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w9lom1NNH0&feature=youtu.be,or you can simply search under YouTube, Norma Cameron.

    The reason I’m sending is that in the last year I’ve also been presenting at health care conferences – simply to encourage people to improve listening (as this is what helps us develop empathy and sympathy to others) and teaching the ‘power of story’ in health care. I share the success stories of people like Dr. Rita Charon, or the outcomes on healthcare costs through The Esther Story, or some of the wonderful success stories coming out of Saskatchewan, ‘Patient First’ focus.

    And, I am presenting at an upcoming Chronic Disease Conference in Saskatoon this June and talking to them to set up a Public Forum to encourage people to ‘tell their stories about care and their experiences with chronic disease’. I will definitely be sharing this PodCast with the organizing committee as Marlene shared so many wonderful tips on hosting these storytelling panels. Anyway, I just wanted to connect and tell you how much I enjoyed this PodCast – keep up the great work and encourage others to keep telling stories.

    Now I’m off to check out Marlene’s recommended website link.

    Thank you, Norma

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