Lisa Wahl
Nursing Instructor
BSN, Emory University
MSN, Lourdes University

Lisa WahlNursing Instructor Lisa Wahl is now taking education to new heights – infusing the humanities, specifically the fine arts, into nursing curricula. An accomplished professional in many vocations, she enjoys the challenge of melding the humanities and the sciences, as well as researching the role visual literacy will play in 21st century education.

"As an artist, I am very intrigued with visual literacy, and am aware of the importance of it in today's education. When you realize how much visual and hands-on learning that young children are experiencing with iPads, Nooks, computers, phones and more on a daily basis, it is crucial for educators to incorporate visual literacy into the curriculum," stresses Lisa.

In her capstone MSN project, she found a fellow visual art enthusiast to assist her in incorporating the concept. Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) Director Brian Kennedy, PhD, worked with Lisa and her advisor Liz Nims, PhD (Associate Professor of Nursing) to establish a partnership between Lourdes and TMA that challenges first-year nursing students to tour the museum and find nursing concepts within the works of art.

Lisa says the partnership has definitely worked. "The students enjoy the process and quickly discover several nursing concepts within the art – including cultural sensitivity and diversity, health promotion, empathy, communication skills, and self-awareness.

"These are all very critical components and skills that professional nurses need to practice in their career. Their charge as a nursing practitioner is to provide a safe environment for their clients and themselves, while promoting therapeutic communication."

A qualitative study with Lourdes colleagues and doctors – Liz Nims, Lynne Zajac, and Mallie Kozy – is Lisa's next step.

The goal of the research team is to develop a grounded theory to explain how first year nursing students who participate in a structured art teaching module subsequently connect this experience to quality and safety education in nursing.

These (QSEN) concepts of patient-centered care (teamwork and collaboration; evidence-based practice; quality improvement and informatics – as well as safety) and their nursing clinical experience.

Scheduled for a spring 2014 completion date, the team hopes to present their findings at national conferences as both ongoing and completed research.