I am finishing a MA in Art History and decided I would like to work as an advanced practice nurse with a specialty in arts in medicine/healthcare, but not necessarily an art therapist. There are many long-term care facilities, hospice and even rehab units that use art programming as part of healing and wellness, but I don't think there are enough to make a career out of. (For example, I imaging there is only one art session or presentation per week at most places)
My thinking was if I could work as an advance practice nurse but be able to offer art-related programs to the facility I end up working with, or even on a freelance basis or as a partner with a local art institution. But, since I have a humanities background and need to gain the healthcare certifications now, I don't know exactly what path would be ideal. I was originally thinking about doing an ABSN to get certified as an RN then going on to advance practice after some clinical experience, or there are some graduate programs for non-nurses to become certified then continue with advanced degrees. (University of Illinois Chicago is one). But, I am unsure which specialty would be the best fit (NP? CNS? Psychiatric NP? Advanced Community Health Nurse?) My boss, a museum educator who is savvy about the art education side of this said she would ideally partner with Public Health departments rather than RNs, but I don't think she is aware of the various advanced practice specialties available. Any thoughts/opinions?
Jan 2, '13
Unfortunately, you are sadly mistaken about the field of nursing and healthcare in general. These people will eat you alive. Your passion for art may never be realized within healthcare and most definitely not within nursing.
I say this as a Religion/Philosophy major who went back for a second degree. I got into nursing for all the right reasons which turns out to be the wrong reasons. Nursing does not appreciate other educational experiences. You would be better served trying to score a job decorating or organizing borrowed art displayed in a hospital.
If you still want to be in healthcare, I would encourage you to do a PA program. For me, on most days, I feel nursing has been the worst mistake of my life. On good days when I am not wiping perianal regions for 12 hours, its just a job.
Jan 2, '13
I've been in nursing almost 30 years, as a generalist and, now, many years as a child psych CNS, and I've never seen any real possibility of incorporating art background/expertise into nursing as a professional advantage (other than being the person who does the arty reaction groups on psych units, which is usually done by techs, not RNs.
You may actually want to look further into art therapy. Since they are used quite a bit in psych settings, I've known a number of great art therapists over the years, and they have all loved what they do (they were much happier about being art therapists than most of the nurses I've known have been happy about being nurses ...). You're right that few facilities use an art therapist enough to have a full-time position, but some of the people I've known have worked at a number of different facilities as a free-lance contractor, and really enjoyed that flexibility. Also, larger facilities, like state hospitals, schools for "special needs" kids, and larger psych facilities, do have full-time staffs of art therapists.
Last edit by elkpark on Jan 2, '13