Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

Don’t call my experience a “patient story”

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 03 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m414
  1. Dawn P Richards, founder
  1. Five02 Labs
  1. dawn.p.richards{at}

The word “story” can devalue a person’s experience, as if it is not evidence based , says Dawn P Richards

I’ve been thinking about the phrase “patient story.” On the surface it seems harmless enough—patients are often invited, in healthcare and research, to share their “story” or their “journey”—but some comments have made me wonder about the word and its use in this context.

My fellow Canadian patient advocate Annette McKinnon said “characterising patient and caregiver interactions with healthcare as ‘stories’ is so frustrating. The experiences we describe are based on fact and we communicate them because we want …

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