Archived case study

Creative writer in residence in nursing studies



Leverhulme funded Writer in Residence (Nicola White) in Nursing Studies, University of Edinburgh and related project in mental health practice Telling Our Stories (Deborah Ritchie) at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Nurses in practice took part in writing workshops

What prompted innovation?

  • Seeking a different way to access nurses’ knowledge and practice through creative writing
  • Funding opportunities available from the Leverhulme Trust to support an artist in residence
  • The ‘Telling our Stories’ project was derived from the reflective practice groups conducted in the Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit during 2009-2010 by Deborah Ritchie.
  • The subsequent collaborative project with the Royal Edinburgh Hospital aimed to generate narratives of current mental health nursing practice.

What makes innovation different?

  • Having a creative writer available to facilitate different ways of thinking at the same time as enhancing reflective and writing skills and building confidence to exercise academic imagination and writing
  • Engagement with undergraduate and postgraduate students, academic and clinical staff at different stages of the learning journey

Changes in practice

One of the aims of creative writing is to enhance empathy through the art and act of writing and reflection on care


  • Doctoral students’ feedback
  • On evaluation of the Telling our Stories workshops it was evident that the participants valued the opportunity to reflect upon their practice, to expand their thinking, think more positively and share their experiences with others who had similar stories to share. Moreover they found it “inspiring” to share their thoughts and voices in a more creative format.


  • Presentation at the NHS Scotland annual conference (2012) on the invitation of the Chief Nurse for Scotland
  • Through a BlogSpot:
  • And a public lecture at the University of Edinburgh, titled ‘Good Nurse; Bad Nurse’ attended by over 160 people in October 2012