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?
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