Nursing students are learning to empathize emotionally with
clients/patients, a core nursing education objective, in a non-traditional way.
In the first year nursing course: Developing Therapeutic
Relationships students were asked to paint rocks with phrases, words or
illustrations that depict the emotions that a client might be experiencing.
“The goal of the project is to help nursing students develop a
deeper understanding of what a client might be feeling,” said Trudy Read, nurse
educator with the Western Regional School of Nursing. “Effective interpersonal communication is
critical to proving safe, quality health care. A strong understanding of health
care is fundamental
and a nurse also has the responsibility to care
for their clients’ emotional well being through empathy by showing respect,
developing trust and building rapport with clients as they receive care or
Through this assignment, students were asked to consider the
following ideas as they painted rocks: what emotions would a client face, how
can the emotion be demonstrated through art and, finally, what tools or
communication skills could a nurse use to assist a client experiencing that
This is the first time for such a project, designed to encourage idea
sharing, increase students’ confidence in public speaking, learn from others’
viewpoints and to communicate verbally – all important communication skills
they are being taught in class.
There was a wide range of emotion depicted on the rocks: optimism,
hope and joy to loneliness, confusion and fear.
the emotion I chose,” said one student. “I decided to paint a broken heart on a
clouded blue surface to express my emotion. Blue represents the sadness
attached to heartbreak, and the heart is broken to show the real emotions that
happens often with loss, something that can happen lot in the hospital.”
“My rock depicts
hope, security and caring. ‘Snoopy and Woodstock on a rainy day.’” said another
student. “Snoopy is protecting Woodstock from the rain, the same way nurses use
an umbrella to shed hope, security and caring to their patients during their
darkest and rainiest days.”
Students are encouraged to share their
art work with others, by placing their creatively designed rocks on the Rock
Wall in Corner Brook, or on any walking trail.