“Because It Breaks Your Heart”: A Study of Transformational Learning Among Adults With Cancer
Despite provincial improvement efforts, quantitative patient satisfaction survey results for adults with cancer consistently indicate lower satisfaction with how healthcare professionals address their emotional and information, education, and communication needs. These emotional and cognitive needs greatly influence how adults perceive their care experience. More information is needed about adult cancer patients’ cognitive and emotional needs to understand how to improve their experience and satisfaction with their cancer treatment and care. Qualitative methods such as narrative inquiry have the potential to provide greater insight into adults’ personal experience. This qualitative, arts-informed narrative inquiry examined how illness narratives and arts-based artifacts can deepen understanding of the cognitive and emotional needs of a cohort of adult women with cancer. Purposeful sampling was used to select 6 adult women with cancer who had experienced diagnosis, treatment and were living with cancer. Data collection methods included semi-structured interviews and the researcher’s journal notes. Data analysis revealed additional connections between themes derived from the women’s illness narratives and their arts-based artifacts. These findings were further illustrated by creating a collective body-map. Results demonstrate how arts-based methods expand what is known about the cognitive and emotional needs of adult women with cancer and provide adult educators with direction for planning transformative education. The study discusses implications for transformational adult education practice and educational research, and offers some initial thoughts on the use of arts-based methods to foster perspective transformation. The study will be of particular interest to adult educators who are interested in promoting transformational learning for doctors, other healthcare professionals, and adults with cancer.