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Art and science: Promoting understanding and empathy through film

02 November 2017
12 min read
Volume 25 · Issue 11

Abstract

This article introduces a cross-disciplinary collaboration that has brought together the disciplines of film (art) and midwifery (art and science) in the making of a creative documentary to evaluate new learning opportunities and reflective practice for student midwives. The case study film, The Golden Window, was filmed in a neonatal intensive care unit over 72 hours and screened to a group of second-year midwifery students in the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, before their placements in neonatal intensive care. The students recorded their thoughts and impressions of the film. Their responses are summarised and reflected upon within this paper, with the underlying intent to examine whether this innovative interaction between art and science can provide an appropriate pedagogic framework for effective learning through creative and artistic means.

Modern healthcare is founded on the essential tenet of caring. Since nursing and midwifery education moved away from traditional, apprentice-style training into higher education, there have been questions raised as to whether the ability to care is innate, or is a skill that can be acquired in clinical practice (Barnett, 2008; Phipps et al, 2015). The concept of the 6Cs of good practice (care, compassion, communication, competence, courage and commitment) were introduced by NHS England (Cummings, 2012) in order to improve the quality of care for patients following examples of appalling care in the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. Phipps et al (2015: 333) suggest that:

‘Caring occurs when communication is good, mutual respect is nurtured and decision-making about care is shared.’

Power (2015: 654) has noted that safe and effective care in practice is often:

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