Person-Centered Care In Mental Health Education and Practice Through Arts-Informed Narrative Inquiry

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Jasna Schwind
Gail Lindsay
Sue Coffey
Debbie Morrison
Barb Mildon


Objectives: We conceptualize person-centred care (PCC) as whole person care that is enacted through the relationship between caregivers and care-receivers. This understanding bridges education and practice, nursing students and nurses, and methodological approaches. The objective of our Associated Medical Services Phoenix Call to Caring funded research is to explore how students and nurses in mental health construct and enact person-centred care.

Methods: Our participants include students and nurses in mental health education and practice. We meet with them in integrated groups of nurses and students. Our research process engages participants in four arts-informed narrative inquiry sessions: stories of giving and receiving PCC, use of metaphors to access tacit knowing, collages and mandalas to explore embodied experience of PCC. Our research is multi-method through the addition of pre and post caring scales to document changes in participant attitudes and behaviours. A follow-up telephone call three months after the fourth session provides an evaluation of the significance of this exploration to PCC in their practice.

Results: Dimensions of enacting PCC are revealed including personal, regulatory, professional and institutional forces that shape students’ and nurses’ choice to be person-centred in their practice. Nurses and students increase self-awareness and critical thinking about the value and enactment of PCC in their practice, also shaping the healthcare environment. The significance of arts-informed narrative methods to illuminate knowledge construction is revealed.

Conclusions: PCC includes the practitioner and student as knowledge maker, in partnership with a patient and family. PCC involves choosing how to be in relationship as a whole person as well as conceptualizing patients as whole persons. PCC involves practitioner self-awareness and courage to advocate for personal integrity of patients and self-as-caregiver. Arts-informed narrative inquiry provides nurses (established and emergent) processes for continuing reflection and professional development.

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How to Cite
Schwind, J., Lindsay, G., Coffey, S., Morrison, D., & Mildon, B. (2014). Person-Centered Care In Mental Health Education and Practice Through Arts-Informed Narrative Inquiry. The International Journal of Whole Person Care, 1(1).
Congress 2013