Prolonged hospital stays are associated with various psychological complications, which include depression, fatigue, and boredom as well as degradation of social skills and mental acuity. A healthcare setting must not only provide comfortable means of prolonged hospital stay but also address the patient’s socio-emotional needs through stimulation and therapy. The article reviewed in the scope of this paper is titled “Preferences for Photographic Art among Hospitalized Patients with Cancer.” This research was conducted by Hanson, Schroeter, Hanson, Asmus, and Grossman in 2013 and addresses the potential of using photographic art as a means of distraction and restoration in cancer patients. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the article, its design, findings, conclusions, and implications for evidence-based nursing practice.
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The purpose of this research is to evaluate the impact of viewing photographic art in cancer patients. This objective was influenced by the growing trend of addressing not only the physical but also the psychological and spiritual needs of the patient as a part of the patient-centered care routine. Although the research questions are not explicitly stated, the implications are as follows (Hanson, Schroeter, Hanson, Asmus, & Grossman, 2013):
- What are the preferences of patients with cancer in viewing photographic art?
- Is the viewing of photographic art perceived by the patients as distracting, restorative, or both?
According to my observations, the primary motivator for this research was the attempt to improve positive psychological outcomes in cancer patients without increasing the costs of treatment.
The researchers adopted a quantitative design followed by a post-test descriptive study. It was based on two theoretical frameworks by Nightingale and Han, which are aimed at altering the environments surrounding the patient, finding connections between different variables included in the study, and measuring outcomes (Hanson et al., 2013). The quantitative design provides empirical data that can be measured and analyzed through statistical means, thus enabling the researchers to study a single variable (in this case, the effect of photographic art) and evaluate its influence on cancer patients. In addition, a quantitative design is less subjected to personal biases and misinterpretation, thus making it a preferable choice for this research. One of its major weaknesses is the relative slowness and expensiveness of the design. However, it is the most reliable way of answering the research questions established earlier in this study.
The sample size used in this research included 80 individuals, out of which 44 participants were male, and 36 participants were female (Hanson et al., 2013). All participants were diagnosed with cancer and were hospitalized for treatment (Hanson et al., 2013). This sample size is considered adequate based on the material provided by Chow, Shao, Wang, and Lokhnygina (2017), who offered generic guidelines on choosing the right sample size based on the scope of the research, the number of resources at hand, and the availability of patients within a singular hospital setting. Participation in the study was strictly voluntary, and informed consent was properly obtained, as stated in the act by the national research approval board. Although the numbers are adequate for the intents and purposes of the study, the majority of patients were Caucasian whites, (72 out of 80 participants) (Hanson et al., 2013), meaning that the results cannot be fully extrapolated on other population groups.
Data Collection Methods
The researchers collected the data for their study by using a multitude of questionnaires in order to measure different aspects of the proposed intervention. Personal demographics were retrieved upon receiving informed consent from a unit census report (Hanson et al., 2013). The performance status of every individual participant was determined using the ECOG physical functioning assessment tool (Hanson et al., 2013). Patient fatigue was measured using a single-item numeric rating scale recommended by National Comprehensive Cancer Network (Hanson et al., 2013). Lastly, the effects of photographic art on patients were assessed using the Visual Arts Research Survey (VARS), which contained 35 quantitative and two qualitative (open-ended) questions (Hanson et al., 2013). Some of the major ethical considerations in this study included obtaining informed consent prior to retrieving personal data, as well as determining the imagery deemed appropriate for various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Limitations of the Study
Some of the limitations identified by the researchers include a high rejection rate among patients, a lack of participants in more severe conditions, and a constant rotation of nurses, which resulted in several inconsistencies (Hanson et al., 2013). In addition, as it was mentioned earlier, representation of ethnic groups other than Caucasian whites was severely lacking. Lastly, the choice of imagery did not account for the cultural and ethnic preferences of the participants. These limitations can be overcome in a larger study that would include the representatives of various minorities. Recruiting nurses with fixed schedules as well as providing a more elaborate selection of images would improve the consistency of data collection and analysis. Analyzing the limitations of the study is important, as these limitations directly affect the credibility and applicability of the results.
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Findings of the Study
The majority of patients enjoyed looking at the photographs presented to them. Most of the patients (between 66 to 76 percent) enjoyed looking at peaceful imagery of nature, such as the lake sunset, the rocky river, and the autumn waterfall (Hanson et al., 2013). Images of people, activities, and industry were less in favor. The study found a correlation between the imagery presented to the patients and the psychophysical and psychological qualities of the photographs. The researchers concluded that viewing photographic imagery provided a positive restorative effect in cancer patients (Hanson et al., 2013). These findings seem credible, as they correlate to other researches and make sense from an educated perspective. The use of peaceful imagery of nature is known to have a soothing effect on the human psyche, which translates well into cancer patients, who often find themselves in a state of physical and emotional distress.
The research article reviewed in the scope of this paper investigated the influence of photographic imagery on hospitalized cancer patients. The objectives and research questions were answered in full. According to the findings, the majority of patients enjoyed looking at images. There was a connection between decreased fatigue levels and the viewing of images of nature and landscape. This knowledge can be implemented into practice in the form of restorative intervention or a distraction from despair and uncertainty for patients diagnosed with cancer. It is a cost-efficient intervention that does not require additional space, materials, or personnel, meaning that it can be safely implemented into the current practices. Pictures can be placed in hospital wards and patient quarters and serve as a form of artistic decoration and passive therapy. The choice of pictures, however, should be tailored to each individual cancer patient in order to achieve maximum effect. Having patients view photographs of peaceful nature helps improve patient outcomes by promoting health, healing, and hope.
Chow, S. C., Shao, J., Wang, H., & Lokhnygina, Y. (2017). Sample size calculations in clinical research (3rd ed.). New York, NY: CRC Press.
Hanson, H., Schroeter, K., Hanson, A., Asmus, K., & Grossman, A. (2013). Preferences for photographic art among hospitalized patients with cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum, 40, E337-E345. Web.