International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleNurses’ experience of creating an artistic instrument as a form of professional development: an arts-informed narrative inquiry
Type of ArticleOriginal Practice Development and Research
Author/sNeelam Walji-Jivraj and Jasna K. Schwind
ReferenceVolume 7, Issue 1, Article 3
Date of PublicationMay 2017
Keywordsarts-informed narrative inquiry, metaphor, narrative reflective process, nursing practice, professional development, reflective practice

Background: Nursing is often referred to as an art and a science. Consistent with the literature, art is subjective, encouraging imagination and creative self-expression. Stories told through artistic illustrations over time access deeper meanings that nurses may hold about their identity as caregivers, as well as their professional and therapeutic relationships. Thus, by engaging in creative self-expression, nurses have the opportunity to expand their reflective practice.

Objective: To explore nurses’ experiences of creating their own individual art pieces and artistic instruments, and so to learn what meaning these creations hold for their nursing practice and their identity as caregivers.

Method and data collection: In this arts-informed narrative inquiry, two participants engaged in a narrative interview and in an adaptation of Schwind’s narrative reflective process (2014). Specifically, participants were invited to tell stories of their nursing practice and then to choose and draw a metaphor that best represents them as caregivers. Participants’ stories were reconstructed and analysed using the three narrative inquiry commonplaces (temporality, sociality and place), and examined through the theoretical lens of Carper’s patterns of knowing (1978a, 1978b).

Findings and discussion: The study revealed six narrative threads: empathy; quality of life; communication; power imbalances; personal development; and professional development, highlighting the importance of person-centred care, and the value of reflective practice.

Implications for practice:

  • Education – the use of arts in education encourages diverse ways of teaching and learning, including relationship building and development of critical thinking skills
  • Practice – engaging in artistic self-expression links theory to practice, revealing how nurses co-construct their identity and knowledge. The use of arts also supports reflective practice for the purpose of personal and professional development, thus strengthening communication and relationship building with peers, and with patients and their families
  • Research – building on this study, further research could focus on exploring how artistic self-expression impacts on nurses’ self-care practices

This article by Neelam Walji-Jivraj and Jasna K. Schwind is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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