Paper Presentation: Supportive Care/Quality Improvement — Beyond Words: Expressing Hope Through Creative Art Among Adolescents Who Have Advanced Cancer (216-3)

12:10 – 12:30 pm Friday, October 29

Purpose/Objectives: This study aimed to (1) conceptualize the essence of hope among adolescents with advanced cancer based on their lived experiences and (2) illustrate how hope evolves through participants’ verbal and artistic depictions of their lived experiences with hope. Four of these drawings and verbatim descriptions are presented as a case series.

Methods: This descriptive qualitative research study used the Relational Caring Inquiry as a framework to guide the researcher to “be with” the participants. Newman’s Theory of Health underpinned this framework application as Expanding Consciousness, which purports people continually interpret information encountered during the wholeness of their lived experience and acquire new perspectives with expanded consciousness. English-speaking adolescents (aged 12-21 years old) diagnosed with advanced cancer and who had access to electronic devices supporting videoconferencing were eligible for participation. Participants were recruited through referrals from an academic medical center and a non-profit organization. The researcher and each participant co-created the essence of hope in the form of a descriptive narrative and creative art. Participants who chose to draw pictures were asked to narrate the conceptual meanings based on the elements of each picture. Participants did not otherwise receive directions or suggestions for their drawings. The methods were facilitated via two video conferences that collected semi-structured audio-recorded interviews.

Findings or Outcomes: The pictures embodied participants’ thoughts, perceptions, and lived experiences related to hope and its role in their lives. Four of the 15 adolescent participants created drawings depicting their lived experiences with hope. The artistic process of mapping the journey with cancer revealed distinct views of the concept of hope with nature landscapes and metaphors. Examples included a tree “going through the darkest part of the storm,” mountains and valleys with “highs and the lows,” and a forest path demonstrating “after going through the darkest moments there is always light.” Participants provided titles for their drawings such as “Over the Rainbow,” “Growth in the Valley,” and “The Light at the End of the Tunnel.” One participant deferred creating a title. Participants’ titles and verbal descriptions of their drawings supported the application of Newman’s Theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness to the study of the concept of hope in this population and implied an experience of personal growth with new perspectives during treatment for cancer.

C. Robert Bennett, PhD MSN CPNP-AC PPCNP
CNE Hours: