Flip No. 89

Learn as Patients Tell Their Stories

Using the hero’s journey, one hospital turns surgery into a transformative experience.

By Children's Hospital Colorado

Developed at Flip the Clinic Lab: Denver

At Children’s Hospital Colorado, children with spinal issues face pretty tough treatment. To prepare them, the hospital leads something they call Spine Class, a two-and-a-half hour workshop taught by nurses, therapists, and former patients to prepare parents and kids for the road ahead. And when they walk out of classes, families go home with a spine book, chock full of all the information they need to know.

It’s a great resource. But there’s one problem with it. The hospital is telling the patient the ending of their story. Instead, it’s time to flip the experience. Out with PowerPoint and hours of listening, in with empowering patients to tell their own stories and offering peer-to-peer knowledge.

By transforming the class into a working master class, and including opportunities for patients to draw, write, or build their own hero’s journey, they can learn what they need to know while taking their health into their own hands. Instead of an ordeal to survive, treatment becomes a transformative experience that is going to carry their lives forward. Sharing stories will help build community, and resources can come in whatever form is easiest for patients and their caregivers to digest—in person-workshops, digital assets, or videos from other patients. The hospital is flipping the way it educates its patients, from mandatory lectures to a workshop that can be bold and transformative.