International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleArts-informed narrative inquiry as a practice development methodology in mental health
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sGail M. Lindsay and Jasna K. Schwind
ReferenceVolume 5, Issue 1, Article 5
Date of PublicationMay 2015
Keywordsarts-informed, experience, mental health, narrative inquiry, practice development

Background: Congruent with the practice development movement, arts-informed narrative inquiry addresses practitioner awareness of self and others within the social context of mental health care. Through our research programme, which explores experience using creative activities and dialogue, we invite nurses to reveal how they shape and are shaped by organisational change. The personhood of the nurse is implicated in the relationship with patients and others.

Objectives: Participants and researchers renewed a commitment to enhance person-centred care through self-reflective practice, to make transparent the construction of knowledge and to transform the practice environment from the frontline perspective.

Methods: We used arts-informed narrative inquiry processes with our participants in five sessions over eight weeks. Three group sessions were in person and two were completed independently with online resources for guidance. The creative activities preceding group dialogue included: writing stories, metaphor development, collage, walking meditation, mandalas and music-guided art.

Findings/results: Arts-informed narrative inquiry illuminates the construction of practitioner knowledge and relationships within a mental health setting. Nurses articulated the autobiographical resonances they bring to relationships with patients and others, illuminating person-centred care. Heightened awareness of how nurses’ agency is connected to their values, other caregivers and organisational policies and practices was evident. The potential for transfer of the creative activities to patient care was discerned. How other disciplines, patients and the organisation could be involved in care delivery innovation was articulated.

Implications for practice:

  • Practitioners demonstrate how arts-informed narrative inquiry can be used to construct knowledge and relationships to support practice development
  • Practitioners are guided to be more response-able, rather than reactive, to organisational change
  • Frontline practitioners are a necessary resource for the implementation and practice of a relational care delivery system and person-centred care that includes the personhood of the nurse

This article by Gail M. Lindsay and Jasna K. Schwind is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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