Pictorial art as a teaching strategy in death education
Caring for cancer patients in advanced stages of the disease is a professional challenge for the nurse. At the same time, the close proximity with death and dying may call forth in the nurse feelings of anxiety and apprehension, leading to inner struggle and stress. One mode of alleviating stress is through self-expression by means of pictorial art. In the study described here, senior student nurses drew their perception of death before and after a three-month seminar on coping with life-threatening situations. The aim was two-fold: to make students aware of their perception of death, and to examine whether their attitude towards the concept of death had been altered as a result of the seminar. Comparison of the pre- and post-seminar drawings showed that their perception of death and dying had undergone a change, in that the concept had lost something of its ominous power.