The effects of arts-in-medicine programming on the medical-surgical work environment

Arts Health. 2015 Jan 2;7(1):27-41. doi: 10.1080/17533015.2014.966313. Epub 2014 Nov 7.


Background: Arts in medicine programs have significant impacts on patients and staff in long-term care environments, but the literature lacks evidence of effectiveness on hospital units with shorter average lengths of stay. Methods: The qualitative study used individual structured interviews to assess the impacts of arts programming on job satisfaction, stress, unit culture, support, quality of care, and patient outcomes on a short-term medical-surgical unit, and used a qualitative cross comparison grounded theory methodology to analyze data. Results: The study confirmed that arts programming can positively affect unit culture, nursing practice, and quality of care on short-stay medical-surgical units. Significant insights related to nursing practice and the art program were found, including that music can cause negative distraction for staff. Conclusions: While positive impacts of arts programming on the medical-surgical environment are clear, potential negative effects also need to be considered in the development of practice protocols for artists.

Keywords: distraction; music; nursing; patient-centered care; unit culture; visual arts.