The ‘I’m fine’ project

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator and Inspire Improvement Fellowship Lead

On 19 January 2022, I joined a webinar to launch and celebrate the ‘I’m fine project’ from the charity Paintings in Hospitals. I was drawn to the webinar because of my interest and work in using all forms of creativity to help nurses to develop new thinking, learning and new ways of working within health and social care.

I hadn’t heard of the Paintings in Hospitals charity, but have since discovered it was established in 1959 with the aim of bringing art to health and social care workplaces, ‘to create spaces that are encouraging, enriching and empowering’. The charity has 3,700 artworks in its collection and uses this collection to inspire art walks, artist projects and creative activities. Please do look and see how the organisation can help you to create more creative workspaces for the good of patients and staff alike.

Paintings in Hospitals Charity History 

Artworks for Health and Social Care Website 

Listening to the webinar, I discovered that the ‘I’m fine project’ (funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing) was designed in response to the Covid 19 pandemic, to help nurses primarily (but also other health and social care professionals) to reflect and reframe their experiences of caring for people through this extraordinary time and to help people move through to a period of recovery. The resulting resource pack was designed to be used by individuals and teams.

I’m Fine Project Resource Pack 

Throughout the project there was an emphasis on using images/art to see nurses not as ‘angels or heroes’, as often portrayed in the media, but as people with families and friends, thoughts and feelings and primarily as persons. The new images developed during the project were to challenge the images portrayed in the media and provide different images of nursing: Images which are much more about the diversity of the nursing profession and strength of the role of the nurse; images which enable the role to be much more visible and talked about in a positive and credible way, rather than just during a crisis. As Joanne Bosanquet FoNS CEO spoke passionately about in the webinar: ‘Media images of nursing don’t align with our professional sense of self, media images portraying angels and heroes are just not helpful, as they blur boundaries and nurses feel they have to keep going regardless, and we have little to say because of what the public and others expect from us.’

The webinar I’m Fine Project Webinar Recording featured a number of prominent nurses and representatives from the Paintings in Hospitals charity. The speakers spoke passionately about their own personal use of creativity (art, poems, blogs etc) to help with their own mental and physical wellbeing. Others shared personal experiences of PTSD (Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder) caused by working though the pandemic and other wellbeing struggles. The key message here was ‘It’s ok not to be ok’ and to seek help – there is no judgement or shame in this. Nursing in particular can be a highly emotional role. As Mary Black (Medical Doctor and Trustee at Paintings in Hospitals) said in the webinar ‘We live complicated professional and personal lives and we (health and social care professionals) experience the most extreme things that a human can: Life, death, birth and illness. We are very connected to these experiences and need ways to process these. The arts are one way of holding these experiences, to help us understand them and through this help us to reframe these experiences.’

Listening to the webinar and considering my own experience of FoNS development programmes, I have found that creativity can often help people to express or view the world from many different perspectives, such as expressing emotions by using images, reflecting on a particular situation by drawing or writing a poem, when words alone can be quite a constraint. I hope that you will find these resources helpful and make as much use of them as you can.

Further resources you may be interested in from Painting in Hospitals:

Creative Care Homes Resources 

Linear Meditations Resources 

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