Thursday, 3 July 2014

Art triumphs over science

I had a satisfying moment yesterday when I was co-facilitating an education session for a group of second year nursing students. My co-facilitator was a very experienced nurse herself and able to cover all the clinical information that I don't know. (I cover the communication and empathy components). I love these sessions because I always learn things too.I

We had just watched a mental health simulation with a female patient who had come to hospital believing she was having a heart attack. She wasn't - she was having a panic attack and it was revealed she had a long history of severe anxiety and agoraphobia. There was plenty to talk about.

My colleague led a discussion about the appropriate drug choices and how they work. We also discussed the side effects and other physical impacts of the drugs. Then we talked about "S.L.U.D.": Salivation, Lacrimation, Urination and Digestion. One of the students asked was Lacrimation was. None of the group knew, but I did.

"It's tears," I offered.

They all looked at me completely surprised. (I'd shared that I had no clinical background.)

"The "Lacrymosa" in the Mozart Requiem, is the movement about crying. I just figured the Latin was probably related."

They looked at me completely surprised again.

This little moment reminded me how handy a broad arts education is. Language is the basis of our communication, understanding and knowledge and I can usually work out most things. It helped me on a game show once when I had to name the South American city who name meant "mountain view". "Monte Video", I answered. I didn't "know" the answer, but I'd worked it out based on the language.

Yesterday's insight wasn't even gained from a language class, but from long exposure to Latin and other languages when singing in choirs!

More and I more I realise how important and useful my broad arts education is. It helps me navigate the world.

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