Arts-based methods to help healthcare workers

Portrait of a young blonde artist

Credit: Ivan Pantic / GettyImages

A new research programme brings together arts organisations, NHS trusts and academia to help healthcare workers overcome some of the pandemic’s challenges.

‘Communicating through Covid: supporting healthcare professionals’ non-verbal communication through arts-based education’ is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Tackling communication challenges

The 18-month research programme will harness ideas and techniques used by artists and performers to design training and support for the NHS workforce.

It is a collaboration between:

  • Performing Medicine, which specialises in arts-based professional development and healthcare education
  • Queen Mary University of London.

Professor Suzy Willson, Director of Performing Medicine, said:

The need to wear PPE, to socially distance, and the move to digital consultation, has presented new challenges to health workers. Many of whom are experiencing feelings of isolation and separation, or finding it difficult to attend to their own needs at this time.

The project… will harness ideas and techniques employed by artists, actors, choreographers and voice coaches to develop courses and resources to help healthcare workers meet these current challenges.

Interdisciplinary effort to support the NHS

The researchers will interview healthcare professionals and medical students to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on how they communicate with colleagues and patients.

New courses and resources will be co-designed based on the findings.

Professor Graham Easton, co-investigator at Barts and Queen Mary, said:

This project should make a real difference to health professionals’ communication and wellbeing during COVID. It’s especially exciting to be combining insights and ideas from both medicine and the arts and humanities. It’s so often these interdisciplinary collaborations that deliver genuine innovation.

Other organisations involved in the research programme, include:

  • Clod Ensemble
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and
  • Swansea Bay University Health Board.

Last updated: 12 April 2021

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