Arts as an ecological method to enhance quality of work experience of healthcare staff: a phenomenological-hermeneutic study

Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2017 Dec;12(1):1333898. doi: 10.1080/17482631.2017.1333898.


This paper explores the impact of self-chosen arts-based recreational activities, as opposed to the traditional arts therapy activities, on the well-being of healthcare providers. Three qualitative case studies of programs in which arts-based activities were used to work with healthcare providers, lasting for 10 weeks each, are phenomenological-hermeneutically evaluated using interviews and focus groups. The findings show what we refer to as an "ecological" ripple of effects: (1) the arts-based activities helped to reduce individual stress and to enhance mood over time, (2) the activities helped to transform workplace relationships within wards, and (3) the arts humanized the overall work climate in the healthcare setting. These effects go beyond those of using the art production as a strategy for stress reduction and imply potential for a more encompassing role for the arts within healthcare.

Keywords: Arts-based activities; focus groups; healthcare worker; humanizing work-climate; phenomenological-hermeneutic.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Art*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Hermeneutics
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Qualitative Research
  • Recreation / psychology*

Grant support

This project was funded by Stockholm County Council [grant number, and responds to the Council’s interest in improving the working environment. The grant funded the activities, part of the salaries of staff who participated in the activities, a series of lectures, and the time of the external collaborators who developed cultural activities.