International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleUsing creative methods in practice development to understand and develop compassionate care
Type of ArticleOriginal practice development and research
Author/sBelinda Dewar
ReferenceVolume 2, Issue 1, Article 2
Date of PublicationMay 2012
KeywordsAppreciative inquiry, compassion, creative methods, photo-elicitation, poetry, practice development, role enactment

Background: Compassionate care is a key priority for policy and the profession, yet the meaning of the concept and the processes that enable it to happen in the context of everyday practice is unclear. Creative methods within a practice development study helped to engage participants in a deep understanding of compassion.

Aims and objectives: One of the aims of the study was to explore the experiences of staff, patients and their families in giving and receiving care within an older people care setting in an acute hospital. The use of creative methods in helping to explore this aim as well as enhancing engagement with the inquiry process and ownership of findings is the focus of this paper. The methods discussed include photo-elicitation, role enactment and poetry.

Conclusions: Use of creative methods enabled a clearer articulation of the concept of compassion and an inclusive approach to data generation and analysis, dissemination and the use of findings in practice. It could be argued that these methods enabled a deeper understanding about compassion and how this is experienced in practice compared to more traditional methods such as asking questions and sharing results through reports. Being confident in the initiation and facilitation of these methods however requires a degree of courage and confidence. There is more scope to share reflections on the experience of using such approaches to enables others to develop this courage and confidence.

Implications for practice:Using creative methods in practice:

  • Is valuable to tap into complex concepts in health care
  • Is valuable in bringing about greater engagement in the practice development process
  • Requires confidence and skilled facilitation

This article by Belinda Dewar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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