Arts In Medicine

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Arts In Medicine, at Shands Hospital, was co-created by John Graham-Pole, M.D., and Mary Rockwood Lane, Ph.D., R.N..  It incorporated artistic materials and activities into a hospital setting and has had over 350 artists on fifteen units working with patients with cancer, diabetes, and many other illnesses.  The initial development of an art program on The Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) unit in 1993 had the overall expected outcome of reducing morbidity and improving recovery time, mood, behavior, compliance, and quality of life (QOL) of young people during their admission for BMT, with the intention of achieving more cost-effective health care delivery (Graham-Pole, et al., 1992).
The artist-participants in the Artists-in-Residence Program at Shands Hospital have created new environments by making art, hanging their own art, and hanging the patients and families art.  Artists are building healing ceilings and walls of beautifully painted tiles made by patients, families, and staff, all of whom are dealing with cancer in the treatment programs.  The dancers are dancing in childrens rooms with the patients and families, at times even when death is imminent.  The poets listen to the patients stories and write stories for them, and about them, and for themselves.  Zeen Magazine is a Shands hospital-based underground childrens newspaper written by hospitalized children for other hospitalized children.  It includes art work with the transcribed personal stories of the childrens hospital experiences.
This program is a shared vision.  As the focus of health care changes from cure to care (Watson, 1988), nursing is providing leadership and a vision for others.  This program has become a clinical model for nursing practice to integrate the arts in care planning and for nurses to choose creative art interventions in responding to patients needs (Lane, 1994).  It advocates the presence of artists within the hospital to teach how the arts can be implemented right at the patients bedside as they get their chemotherapy and their medical treatments and facilitate that implementation.  The nurse, as facilitator and advocate of the patient voice (Gadow, 1990) in this process, has extensive knowledge of how this can be made to happen and the power to manifest it for the patients care.
The Art-in-Medicine Program at the University of Florida has several artists in residence: poets, painters, dancers, storytellers, musicians, and many others.  Every day these artists enter the rooms of patients with cancer and other illnesses and make art with them.  The artists play music, dance, draw, and sculpt.  They write poetry, tell stories, and even dress as clowns.  Patients watch, tell the artist what they want them to do, or make art alongside the artist.  The artists perform and create in the hospital lobby.  Patients are brought from their rooms, families and staff stop as they go to lunch, the music drifts through the sterile corridors, and more people are drawn towards its transformational power.  
As Arts In Medicine became a huge program, artists came from all over world.  A  community in art and healing became a collective, we became large.  Hundreds of people came to Arts In Medicine, it had a  life of its own immediately.  People came and committed. When they heard about it, a light bulb went off in their own minds. Doors opened. We created two conferences, my idea to do research started to turn into a program.  It  started in the  bone marrow transplant unit with one artist, in one year we had fifteen,  then twenty three at a time, then there were more than 250 artists.  We started in one unit and it evolved into fifteen units.   We involved nurses, created studio space, had a dancer in residence, put out a magazine, started a  heart transplant storytelling project, had a strolling musicians, did atrium an performance series, had community celebration holiday events, sometimes there were twenty  community events at a time.  We had  speakers in the  medical school, the vet school, we involved medical students with a  buddy program for first year  medical students. We created a dance in medicine course at University of Florida fine arts, then a research and education branch, CAHRE. Now we sponsor courses in art and healing in community colleges, we have a freshman honors course in creativity, writing, and healing, a music course for composers in the school of music, and a  film course.
Finally, Very Special Arts of Florida approached us to seed Arts In Medicine programs statewide.  They attended one of our conferences and we gave them the idea, they received a challenge grant from the state of Florida.  The first year they sponsored a search for hospitals who wanted an Arts In Medicine program or had one and wanted help expanding it.  Arts In Medicine did workshops to teach about our program, now a model for replication.  The second year Arts In Medicine will partner with Very Special Arts Florida to train artists, caregivers and administrators to set up their own program and will give them grants to fund the artists in residence.  We are now writing a handbook for the training and applying for research grants to identify strategies to implement art and healing and the Shands Arts In Medicine model.  There are currently more than five programs that are started already from the seed of Art as a Way of Healing that provide art and healing services for thousands of people. Tampa, Miami, Boggy Creek Camp, West Palm Beach, Talahassee and Orlando are all starting art and healing programs based on Shands Arts In Medicine that came from the dissertation Art as a Way of Healing.
Art as a Way of Healing has created an environment in our community for change.  Governor Jeb Bushs wife read our book Creative Healing and asked to visit. The program.  She invited us to present for the cabinet in Talahassee.  Now exact replicas of the program are being built in Tallahassee. We have a  website, www.artashealing.org it has 1000 visitors a day.  Many of them come to the program and leave to set up their own program all over the world. We present to the  CEO of the medical center and are building an endowment.  The CEO made a personal contribution because he thought ami made an important contribution to the quality of care in the hospital.