Coming to understand the professional artistry of nursing practice and facilitating its development: A critical creative collaborative inquiry
This thesis explores the concept of professional artistry in nursing practice. In particular, as it was uncovered and understood by nursing professionals working in hospital, primary care and long term care settings in the Netherlands. Despite the many pressures and challenges within the healthcare system some nurses do manage to practise with beauty and graceful skill while nursing in person-centred and evidence-based ways. These nurses demonstrate that effective, beautiful, perhaps even transformative practice is possible. Practice of this kind has been called professional artistry. A collaborative, critical and creative methodology was developed specifically for this study to enable groups of nurses to inquire together using methods that would take account of the embodied, embedded and creative nature of professional practice. This research has demonstrated that professional artistry in nursing can be understood as a set of ontological and praxiological assumptions which are expressed in five patterns of engagement and result in an enlargement of the space for becoming. The patterns of engagement are described as the creation of a sheltered, shared space; being committed to the ideal; working with the parts and the whole; working with the now and the not yet, and, taking or enabling transformative action. This research has furthermore demonstrated that it is possible within busy, real life nursing environments for nurses to engage in an iterative and systematic process of embodied learning through which they can develop shared understandings of their professional artistry, involve their colleagues, patients and other stakeholders in co-creation of these understandings, and experience both perspective transformations and further development of their professional artistry. Iterative inquiry into professional artistry via a critical, creative and collaborative process not only supports the embodied understanding of professional artistry in one’s own practice, but creates the conditions in which it can be further developed.