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Creative arts in health professional education and practice: a case study reflection and evaluation of a complex intervention to deliver the Culture & Care programme at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery, King’s College London

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Textbook of Creative Arts, Health, and Wellbeing. International Perspectives on Practice, Policy & Research
EditorsStephen Clift, Camic Paul
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages315

King's Authors


In 2012, Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England launched her Compassion in Practice strategy for Nursing and Midwifery which has become known for the headline six Cs of: Care; Compassion; Competence; Communication; Courage and Commitment (DH 2012). This chapter proposes that engagement with the creative arts in Nursing and Midwifery education offers one route to explore, expand, and enhance students’ non-normative ethics and values that underpin the sustained delivery of person-centred compassionate care and will demonstrate how students have applied learning in the creative arts to meet these core domains. In starting the debate about whether compassion can be taught, Pence (1983) emphasises the importance of imagination and imaginative thinking and cites the George Bernard Shaw quip “Do not do unto others what you would have done to you: their tastes might be different.” In order to achieve what Pence describes as self-transposal, to feel compassionately someone else’s pain and suffering, requires not just a moral interest in social justice, but a virtue achieved through “an intimacy…built on related moral qualities between listener and sufferer of trust, honesty, and the time and willingness to listen” (Pence 1983 p189). Beauchamp & Childress (2001) expand on the importance of compassion in their description of the non-normative virtues that underpin healthcare practice: compassion; discernment; trustworthiness; integrity and conscientiousness. Using the creative arts in health education provides an opportunity for students to engage with narrative and hermeneutic analysis that may help them to understand patients’ lived experiences of their illnesses and of receiving care, and to explore their own virtues and values so that a professional intimacy can be achieved whilst also developing their imaginations and imaginative thinking that drives the desire to care for someone. This chapter will explore a further six Cs of Culture & care; Complex intervention; Collaboration; Compose-in-residence; Choir and Creativity at The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery, King’s College London. The model of a complex intervention will explore how a multi-faceted approach helped embed culture & care in both individual modules of learning and as a philosophy throughout the School. Collaboration was key to the success of the project and generated novel ideas and projects. John Browne, Composer in Residence in the School will reflect on the creative processes and outcomes from his residency, and participants’ evaluations of The Nightingale Choir and the Nursing & Humanities module will be used to demonstrate how students link their experiences to care; compassion; competence; communication; courage and commitment.

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