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.