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Tell me a story.

Recently, after consuming a far-too-large and satiating dinner, a friend and I stopped by a favorite coffee shop to top off our evening. This bistro is the ultimate bohemian establishment, selling only organic, fair-trade, vegan fare. Although purchasing such fare enhances my self-image as a global citizen, I frequent this establishment more to be entertained by its unusual patrons than to contribute to my health and societal good. On any given evening, one may encounter a support group for deaf lesbians or a group of energized men returning from a drumming circle, all sipping beverage and gnawing on hard, but healthy, biscotti. Last week, while waiting for my double decaf latte, I scanned the flyers on the counter advertising yoga sessions, male bonding groups, and alternative rock bands. One flyer grabbed my attention: Men's Inter-generational Storytelling.

"What's this?" I asked myself. I paused to read the flyer from top to bottom. The flyer challenged me to imagine what it would be like if men of all ages understood 'my story' and I understood theirs; what it would be like if men routinely could draw on the wisdom of men of all ages; and what it would be like if storytelling was used as an initiation for male bonding. Fascinated, I read on. The flyer stated:
 For most of human history, storytelling has
 been a crucial part of men's initiation and
 empowerment. Nowadays, storytelling has
 been reduced to mere entertainment. This
 has cut men off from the wisdom of the past,
 present, and future--from actually knowing
 men's stories.

The flyer described a six-hour event in which men of different ages were matched to share personal life stories and perspectives. I conjured up an image of men sitting around a fire, elders mentoring younger men and younger men providing new contexts for life lessons. I couldn't help but tie this image to nursing. A number of authors have described how men long for appropriate role models in nursing, how female colleagues cannot provide male wisdom to men new to nursing, and how men nurses express a need to connect to other men nurses. These needs help explain the high satisfaction men express in attending the annual AAMN conferences. These conferences provide a venue for storytelling and wisdom sharing. Nevertheless, perhaps we need more storytelling, not just in the confines of bohemian coffee houses, but in the break rooms of clinical worksites as well.

This issue of the InterAction is a spirited, albeit rough, move to provide storytelling. Several brief stories of wonderful men nurses are presented. It is hoped that these stories will both inform and inspire. Men have such a rich history in nursing. Let us all share our rich personal histories to the men nurses who will someday fill our shoes.
COPYRIGHT 2006 American Assembly for Men in Nursing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:O'Lynn, Chad
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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