Aim. This paper explores the need for and nature of personal narratives and their relevance to nursing practice. It proposes that the co-creative aesthetic process can be used to understand and co-create personal narratives through an emphasis on self-defining memories and metaphor.
Background. Many authors in nursing and other human sciences have recognized the need for and importance of personal narrative, its relationship to aesthetic knowing and its value in qualitative research and in practice. The role of memory and metaphor in the creation of meaning in personal narratives, however, has not been sufficiently explored in nursing literature.
Discussion. The nature of personal narrative is explored, focusing on the way meaning is created from self-defining memories using metaphor. Then, the importance of personal narratives in nursing practice is considered, followed by discussion about how meaning in personal narratives may be co-created between clients and nurses using an aesthetic process developed by the author.
Conclusion. The co-creative aesthetic process is an example of nursing as art and can be used to co-create personal narratives in practice. The experience of co-creating a self story with a nurse can be healing, as the self story is heard by a caring person, memories are understood in new ways, and the self story is both confirmed and recreated.