Although UK child death rates are falling (ONS 2015) their impact is out of proportion to their incidence in relation to the number of people affected and the severity of their effects (Hindmarch, 2009). The intensity of caring for children and families in death situations is known to have an impact on health care practitioners, both painful and rewarding (Papadatou 2009). Caring for dying children is one of the most challenging and unique experiences that student nurses experience while on placement in a variety of settings including hospitals, hospices and the community. Death education for nurses has been studied but there has been limited research into the preparation of those working with dying children and its effectiveness in preparing them for this role (Malloy et al., 2006; Carson 2010). This provides children’s nurse educators with a challenge and opportunity to be innovative. Rather than relying on didactic methods when teaching loss issues to student nurses, educators should use creative, interactive and experiential approaches (Matzo et al., 2003; Carson 2010). Narrative pedagogy is appropriate for death education building on a common strategy for nurses caring for children and families in death situations where sharing experiences with colleagues and gaining emotional support is seen as a positive way to learn to manage grief and construct meaning (Keene et al., 2010). Storyboarding is an educational technique that has been used to facilitate narrative and reflection in nurse education (Lillyman et al., 2011; Lillyman and Bennett 2012). It “offers an engaging visual approach to narrative that is both simple and effective” (Johns 2013, p.260). This presentation will share experiences of using storyboarding with children’s nursing students as an aid to reflection on death situations that they have experienced in practice and as a means of bridging the gap between theory and practice.
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