Engaging the Moral Imagination: Artistic Representations of Ethical Practice in a Health Science Curriculum

By:
Dr. Elizabeth Anne Kinsella
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This presentation highlights the use of an arts-based approach to ethics education within a health sciences curriculum, as well as a phenomenological analysis of students' art work and accompanying interpretive papers. In this ethics course module, 48 Master’s of Science students in Clinical Occupational Therapy were invited to reflect on their ethical commitments through reflective journaling and the creation of an artistic representation of ethical practice. The inclusion of an artistic representation as a course requirement evolved out of my growing appreciation for the ways in which aesthetic approaches can contribute to reflection in professional life (Bleakley, 1999; Greene, 1991; Kinsella, 2004). This is an insight persuasively argued by advocates of humanities in health professional education and rooted in the writing of educational philosophers such as John Dewey (1929, 1958) and more recently Maxine Greene (1995).

This presentation highlights photographs of students' art work and considers the interpretive meanings that individuals attribute to their work, as well as themes that emerge across the group. Phenomenological analysis of the work highlights differences as well as similarities. Various themes were discerned in the analysis and include: relationship as central to ethical practice, the importance of an ethics of care and of attending to the narratives of clients, consideration of complex contexts and grey areas of practice, the significance of reflection in ethical deliberation, the need to negotiate differing values and worldviews, the role of dialogue, teamwork and collaboration in ethical practice. A few students focused on the politics of health care delivery, and issues of justice, oppression, and advocacy for patients. Many students placed their personal journeys, their quest for wisdom, spirituality, and personal development centrally as motivators and guides for ethical practice.


Keywords: Ethics Education, Ethical Commitments, Reflection, Health Sciences, Artistic Representations, Phenomenology
Stream: Arts Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Elizabeth Anne Kinsella

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario
1201 Western Road, Elborn College, Ontario, Canada

Anne Kinsella is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. She is particularly interested in the knowledge that emerges through reflection on professional experience and the implications for improving practice in the health professions. In recent years Anne has become interested in the ways in which metaphor and the arts can enrich reflective processes.

Anne’s interests include reflective practice, ethical issues in practice, engaging the moral imagination through the arts, and health professional education. Her doctoral dissertation examined the philosophical underpinnings of reflective practice, and proposed an elaboration that illuminates the importance of dialogue. Anne has facilitated numerous workshops across the country, published articles on reflective practice, and written a book entitled Reflective Practice and Professional Development: Strategies for Learning through Professional Experience.

Ref: A06P0357