Writing poetry: a way of knowing nursing

J Adv Nurs. 1998 Dec;28(6):1191-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1998.00848.x.


Carper's patterns of knowing expose the relevance and importance of different knowledge to the enterprise of nursing. She noted that the aesthetic pattern enables nurses to know unique perceptive experiences. Poetry captures particular perceptive experiences and reconstructs them into universal wholes. The opportunity for nurses to write poetry can illuminate and legitimate their perceptive experiences which often become worn or hidden in the everyday work world and in other ways of knowing. Expressing nursing experiences through writing poetry generally involves three phases: (a) creating an image of experience, (b) fully articulating the image, and (c) sharing a clear, new meaning of the image. A poem, written to express one author's unique nursing experience, is used to explore the knowledge gained through the process of writing poetry. Writing poetry can help nurses connect with and maintain their personal and professional history. Moreover, writing poetry increases our awareness of the sensibilities of nursing practice and the meanings that these sensibilities add to the depth and design of the discipline.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Esthetics
  • Humans
  • Knowledge*
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Nursing*
  • Poetry as Topic*
  • Writing*