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Why creative people belong in health

28th May 2020

Lydia Dye-Stonebridge, CUREate Project Manager, explains how creative capability is needed at a time of health transformation.

CUREate started with one key question: who do we need to encourage to consider health that we are not encouraging already? Healthcare will change, and it needs people who can conceptualise and embrace new ways of working.

Creative people possess the capabilities to meet the challenges inherent in change, but health careers outreach tends to focus on people working towards or possessing qualifications in science. This reflects an academically demanding curriculum that includes modules in the sciences and prepares students to engage with research and evidence-based practice. It’s logical to build clinical skills on top of a foundation of clinical knowledge, and decisions should always be informed by evidence.

We are always interested in developing non-typical career paths for our students as we believe that the world should make broader use of creativity as a capability rather than as a skillset.

Edward Venning, Director of Communication and External Affairs, University of the Arts London

But anyone familiar with the NHS Values ‘6 C’s’ knows that courage, compassion, commitment and communication are of equal importance to competence in care. The creative disciplines develop these values and capabilities. In addition, creative disciplines also prepare students for investigation and analysis, as well as develop other foundational skills including technical know-how and non-verbal language.

Our perspectives and case studies highlight how those with creative backgrounds thrive in their health careers. Their capacity for empathy, diligence and collaboration fits within a system that is shifting culturally towards person-centric care and kindness. Creatives also call upon their own artistic skills and understanding to help their patients meet their goals. These perspectives and case studies also highlight how creative identity can create an interest in certain hard-to-recruit roles, i.e. dance and podiatry, as well as acting, and speech and language therapy.

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