A Performative Presentation of an Arts-Informed Study: Poetically and Visually Dwelling in Stories of Heart Surgery and Recovery

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 4:25 PM

Jennifer, L. Lapum, PhD, MN, BScN, RN
Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the significance of arts-based methodologies in nursing practice and health care.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify and further reflect on ways to enhance the balance between humanistic- and technological-based practices in nursing.

Purpose: Nursing research involves various methodologies that uniquely contribute to the many dimensions of nursing in our global communities. In the 21st century, there has been intensified focus on humanistic practices, which may be attributed to increasing technologization in health care, as well as patients becoming empowered and speaking out. Alongside of this, arts-informed research has emerged as a way to engage aesthetic ways of knowing. This epistemology accesses emotive and embodied senses and may highlight humanistic dimensions of nursing practice. The purpose of this performative presentation is to engage poetical and visual senses with an arts-informed narrative inquiry of patients’ experiences of open-heart surgery and recovery. Poetry and photographic images will be shared that were composed based on participants’ stories.

Methods: Narrative emplotment was the theoretical foundations, which framed the research around stories and the temporal and contextual act of plot construction. Narrative-based interviews were completed with sixteen individuals at 2-4 days following heart surgery and 4-6 weeks following discharge. The analytic process involved aesthetic immersion in which researchers became emotionally, morally and cognitively attuned to stories. Researchers attended to the narrative flow and linguistic components of stories including characters, events and outcomes.

Results: Key results indicated that participants struggled with the following: a) balancing possibilities of death with positive probabilities of life; b) protective mechanism of relinquishing control and becoming passive and non-agential; c) cared for in ways that were technologically competent, but neglected personal engagement; and d) anxiety and fear about unfamiliar body sensations, unpredictable futures, and uncertainty on pathways of recovery.

Conclusion: Evidence-based practice involves critical consideration of enhancing the balance between humanistic- and technological-based practices of care. Arts-informed methodologies can prompt an understanding of this balance and enhance aesthetic ways of knowing that provide emotional, moral and intellectual insight into patients’ experiences.