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Narrative-based Learning for Person-centred Healthcare: the Caring Stories Learning Framework

Mazzoli Smith, L.; Villar, F.; Wendel, S.

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F. Villar

S. Wendel


This paper describes the learning framework for an innovative narrative-based training platform for healthcare professionals based on older patients’ narratives. The aim of Caring Stories is to place patients’ desires and needs at the heart of healthcare and by doing so to promote person-centred care (PCC). It is argued that this narrative-based approach to training in healthcare education will provide professionals from different fields with competencies to better understand how to interpret the lifeworlds of older people, as well as facilitate better communication and navigation through increasingly complex care trajectories. The spiral learning framework supports narrative-based training to be accessible to a broad range of healthcare practitioners. We suggest this is a theoretically sophisticated methodology for training diverse healthcare professionals in PCC, alongside core tenets of narrative medicine, with applicability beyond the patient group it was designed for. The learning framework takes into account professionals’ mindsets and draws on the epistemic tenets of pragmatism to support interprofessional education. Being informed by narrative pedagogy, narrative inquiry, and expansive learning and transformative learning theories, ensures that a robust pedagogical foundation underpins the learning framework. The paper sets out the conceptual ideas about narrative that we argue should be more widely understood in the broad body of work that draws on patient narratives in healthcare education, alongside the learning theories that best support this framing of narrative. We suggest that this conceptual framework has value with respect to helping to disseminate the ways in which narrative is most usefully conceptualised in healthcare education when we seek to foster routes to bring practitioners closer to the lifeworlds of their patients. This conceptual framework is therefore generic with respect to being a synthesis of the critical orientations to narrative that are important in healthcare education, then adaptable to different contexts with different patient narratives.


Mazzoli Smith, L., Villar, F., & Wendel, S. (2023). Narrative-based Learning for Person-centred Healthcare: the Caring Stories Learning Framework. Medical Humanities, 49(4), 583-592.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 24, 2023
Online Publication Date May 19, 2023
Publication Date Dec 19, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 19, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 13, 2023
Journal Medical humanities.
Print ISSN 1468-215X
Electronic ISSN 1473-4265
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 4
Pages 583-592
Public URL


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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

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