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The use of innovative and creative methods in the treatment of patients with cancer is often a necessity since the traditional methods of therapy are not always effective. In order to assess the success of one of these unconventional interventions, the article “Preferences for Photographic Art among Hospitalized Patients with Cancer” by Hanson, Schroeter, Hanson, Asmus, and Grossman (2013) will be analyzed. This paper offers such an approach as the use of photographic art as a reflective therapy for patients undergoing cancer treatment (Hanson et al., 2013). The purpose of this article is to assess the impact of photographic art on cancer patient outcomes and evaluate what types of this therapy people prefer. The research question is as follows: can photographic art in different forms have a positive effect on the treatment of patients with cancer? To find evidence and arguments for the answer, additional academic sources will be used.
Summary of the Study
The article under consideration deals with the problem of cancer treatment and reflects the use of alternative intervention techniques, namely, the use of photographic art as a therapeutic method of treatment (Hanson et al., 2013). The research question is aimed at determining how patients assess this type of therapy and what categories of such art have the greatest effect and recognition. According to the authors, this approach allows improving the quality of patients’ life in a hospital environment and contributes to the relaxation that is necessary to maintain a normal moral state (Hanson et al., 2013). The opinions of stakeholders, who are patients and nursing staff, as well as the outcomes of treatment, are factors that influence the response to the research question.
The design used to find the answer to the research question posed is quantitative. The indicators of the group of participants are analyzed, and the corresponding data are displayed in percentages. According to the authors, they adhere to “exploratory, single-group, post-test descriptive design” (Hanson et al., 2013, p. E339). Also, qualitative survey questions are used to find out the opinions of patients about the characteristics and preferences of therapy through photographic art.
The chosen type of design has strengths, in particular, an a-single-group study allows focusing on specific participants, and special survey questions provide an opportunity to learn the personal opinion of each member of the target audience. Nevertheless, in such a study, some shortcomings may appear, for example, the lack of data for comparative analysis or too narrowly focused intervention that does not affect different categories of patients. Hanson et al. (2013) probably utilized this design in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method drawing on the example of a single group and to implement such a methodology further in a larger setting.
Sample of the Study
As the sample of the study, eighty patients were selected as a target group (Hanson et al., 2013). Forty-four men and thirty-six women between the ages of nineteen and eighty-five who were diagnosed with cancer became participants in the intervention (Hanson et al., 2013, p. E340). In terms of the medical center in which the study was conducted, the sample size is sufficient. According to King et al. (2016), who carried out the analysis of different studies on a similar topic, various clinical settings, for example, cancer centers might not have a large number of patients who would be ready for non-traditional therapies. The number of participants is adequate and sufficient to conduct analysis within a single medical institution.
Certainly, when speaking about the scale of the project, eighty people are not a big enough group to talk about the widespread implementation of the therapy through photographic art. However, this stage of the study can be initial, and further, additional tests with a larger number of participants can be conducted. One of the possible gaps is the lack of adolescents in the target group. Nevertheless, young people are included in the program. Therefore, the intervention under consideration is adequate and allows finding the answer to the research question.
Data Collection Methods
The data for the study were collected by electronic patient surveys. The authors used sixty images from specially selected collections (Hanson et al., 2013, p. E340). According to (Hanson et al., 2013), “bright, cheerful colors and variety were considered in selecting the photographs” (p. E340). As data collectors, nurses were recruited, and the staff did not work with patients from their departments.
The members of the study were selected personally by a representative of the research team, and no ethical violations were allowed. The participation process was voluntary, and the patients agreed to process the data. To pass the analysis procedure, computers and photos of different categories were used. The participants evaluated the pictures in silence, being in the same room. A responsible representative of the research turned on the equipment and offered the members of the group to pass a survey after the completion of the view compilation. Glinzak (2016), in a similar study, also used photographs and special collages, arguing that this approach allowed systematizing the information obtained and composing the picture of perception. In the study by Hanson et al. (2013), the authors focused on the results but did not affect the perception of individual images, which may be a gap. However, on the whole, the method of data collection was logical and justified.
Limitations of the Study
During the study, some limitations arose that could affect the final results. For instance, “patient acuity levels, such as patients being too sick to participate, impacted the overall number of participants” (Hanson et al., 2013, p. E343). Also, the nursing staff who was supposed to collect the data was not sufficiently trained, which affected patient participation and the process of preparing information. Another limitation was related to equipment, in particular, access to the Internet, which periodically disappeared. These shortcomings could have had a negative impact on the outcome of the study. Nevertheless, all the results were recorded, and the participants passed the necessary survey.
In order to overcome such limitations in subsequent studies, it is essential to prepare for possible errors in advance. As Boehm, Cramer, Staroszynski, and Ostermann (2014) note, the nursing staff should first tell patients about upcoming work and describe to them the nuances of the research and its significance for science. Also, according to Hulbert-Williams, Storey, and Wilson (2015), the management of clinics should conduct awareness-raising work with personnel about the need for training so that the lack of competence could not become a limitation. All the equipment should be up-to-date in order for no problems with the equipment to arise during work. All limitations are important to list and discuss to have an idea of what difficulties the researchers faced. This knowledge will help to avoid mistakes in future work and will become an auxiliary base for other authors.
Findings Reported in the Study
Valuable information was obtained during the study. According to Hanson et al. (2013), “the vast majority of the participants (96%) reported enjoying looking at the study photographs” (p. E341). Also, comments were given regarding the possibility of using other images that patients might like. Such factors as fatigue and the stage of the disease were taken into account as criteria influencing the perception of photographs.
The authors’ findings respond to the research question posed since both patients’ opinions on the pictures, and the influence of images on the condition and mood of the participants are displayed and confirmed (Hanson et al., 2013). The credibility of the results is confirmed by figures in percentages, which is a reliable source that allows trusting documented findings. Hanson et al. (2013) managed to determine which of the photographs had the greatest positive impact on patients. As Green and Young (2015) remark, creative visual expression can be useful for those who experience anxiety and depression caused by the disease. Similar ideas are cited by Hanson et al. (2013), who answers the research question posed.
Photographic art in different forms has a positive effect on the treatment of patients with cancer, and the perception of visual images helps people to adapt better to a hospital environment. The answer to the research question has been received, and the findings prove the relevance of the work done and the significance of the topic. The predominant percentage of participants agree that viewing images improves their moral condition, which justifies the need for introducing this method. The practice of introducing photographic art into oncology centers can be used by nurses. The clinic management can allocate funds for the purchase of appropriate equipment for patients. According to the results of the study, different categories of cancer patients can receive such alternative care from junior medical personnel, including children. The research conducted allows concluding that photographic art as the means of moral support can be introduced as a successful and effective nursing technique.
Boehm, K., Cramer, H., Staroszynski, T., & Ostermann, T. (2014). Arts therapies for anxiety, depression, and quality of life in breast cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2014, 1-9. Web.
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Glinzak, L. (2016). Effects of art therapy on distress levels of adults with cancer: A proxy pretest study. Art Therapy, 33(1), 27-34. Web.
Green, A. R., & Young, R. A. (2015). The lived experience of visual creative expression for young adult cancer survivors. European Journal of Cancer Care, 24(5), 695-706. Web.
Hanson, H., Schroeter, K., Hanson, A., Asmus, K., & Grossman, A. (2013). Preferences for photographic art among hospitalized patients with cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum, 40(4), E337-E345. Web.
Hulbert-Williams, N. J., Storey, L., & Wilson, K. G. (2015). Psychological interventions for patients with cancer: Psychological flexibility and the potential utility of acceptance and commitment therapy. European Journal of Cancer Care, 24(1), 15-27. Web.
King, S., Exley, J., Parks, S., Ball, S., Bienkowska-Gibbs, T., MacLure, C.,… Marjanovic, S. (2016). The use and impact of quality of life assessment tools in clinical care settings for cancer patients, with a particular emphasis on brain cancer: Insights from a systematic review and stakeholder consultations. Quality of Life Research, 25(9), 2245-2256. Web.