Hospital employees are not immune to the health threats and emotional strain COVID-19 has brought upon the world, but we are expected to leave our emotions and fears at the door as we care for others.

The 55-word story creative writing method can be a tool for professional growth (Fam Med 2010;42:400-2). It uses poetry and prose elements to encapsulate key health care experiences (Table) and stimulates personal reflection. Writers and readers of the stories gain insight into intense emotional or professional moments; the brevity of the pieces add impact.

Amid the challenges posed by COVID-19, we asked coworkers and families to share the pandemic's impact on their lives in self-healing 55-word stories. The stories reveal their fears, concerns, hopes, and strengths.

This exercise allowed our participants to gain introspection about how the pandemic has affected them. Writing helped deal with the stress. They report that it gave them a voice and an opportunity to explore and express feelings of trepidation, anxiousness, worry, and fear. It was helpful acknowledging that the things that matter to us give us hope and positivity, provide value in our existence, and ensure the ability to persevere.

How to Write a 55-Word Story

How to Write a 55-Word Story
How to Write a 55-Word Story

The following is a sampling of the 55-word stories. Go online for more stories and participants' comments on the writing experience.

From Anxiety to Intention

by Tara Maple, RN

Mom of three boys, PACU Nurse, Educator, Wife. Pandemic brings waves of anxiety, new challenges, now I am all those things and a teacher. Choosing to ride my anxiety, channeling a life of intention. Restoring happiness, creating connection, facilitating growth. Deeper relationships, living a life of intention. Making the space for living, not just life.

A 10-Year-Old's Perspective

by Daniel Soneru, 4th-grade student

You might be feeling stressed about COVID-19. Don't be scared everything will be ok if you just stay home and don't come in contact with sick people. Everything has an end. For the people working at hospitals thank you for helping everyone that is sick and everybody thanks you for always being here for us.

Class of 2020

by Huynh (Wendy) Nguyen, MS

As an immigrant Asian-American fourth year medical student, 2020 was supposed to bring me joy but instead brought fluctuations of fear and disappointment. Fear of exposing my family. Once clinical rotations, Match day and graduation were canceled, the disappointment consumed me. As I read of hate crimes on Asian Americans the fear settled back in.

Don't miss 21 more 55-word stories. Read online at: asamonitor.pub/3cKrc14.

∗ Tara Maple, RN, Daniel Soneru, 4th-grade student, Huynh (Wendy) Nguyen, MS, Ricardo Falcon, MD, Timothy R. Petersen, PhD, Lia Hoffner, MD, Champagne Saavedra, Anesthesia Technician, John Sanders, MD, Trine Vik, CAA, Brandon S. Trujillo, Anesthesia Technician, BS Biochemistry, Rebecca D. Baker, RN, Caleb Stalls, MD, Victoria Bradford, MD, Anna Reviere, MS, Deborah Crandall, RN, Craig Rumbaugh, MD, Cindy Crittenden, BSN, Tony Yen, MD, Lydia Jorge, MD, Ivette Perez, MD, Kate Novinc, CAA, EdS, Tatiana Radu, MD, and Richard Lock, MD

Codruta Soneru, MD, Pediatric Anesthesiologist, and Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Codruta Soneru, MD, Pediatric Anesthesiologist, and Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.