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The Art of Palliative Medicine - 2017 Semester 1

Impartial Eyes

I chose hand-drawn art as my media of choice as it is an effective medium for portraying a range of ideas creatively to encourage a range of insight depending on the viewer. I think I can encourage feeling from art more effectively than I can from written work, so I attempted an alternative piece of media rather than an essay.

My perspective of end of life was challenged by our patient visit. I expected an emotional conversation that would have a lasting effect on me associated with feelings of sadness. Conversely, I left feeling content and reflective. I felt like I was enhanced by the visit. I learnt that patient’s ideas of end of life are likely largely variable but also obviously will depend on their life stage, their supports around them and their religious/spiritual beliefs. Our patient seemed very accepting, happy and outgoing and talked very openly about her story and what her plans are for the future which was slightly surprising for me but also made me feel a lot more at ease throughout our conversation discussing difficult topics.

Through my chosen media I wanted to depict a youthfulness to contrast with what I think people expect from palliative medicine, to challenge the same thoughts on palliative medicine that challenged myself. I tried to depict a neutral expression, not happiness or sadness to convey the mixed emotions that come from difficult conversations. I didn’t want to depict sadness especially as this is the opposite of the feelings created in our patient visit. A warm, friendly and welcoming interaction. Life is in the eyes and our patient seemed full of life so a focus on the eyes was something that represented our interaction well.

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