The Power of Art – Part I: How Art Positively Affects Medical Staff and Caregivers

If you’ve ever been in a hospital, senior living home or other caregiving facility, you may have noticed artwork on display throughout the space. What you may not realize is that artwork provides a number of benefits for patients and staff members alike. Art in caregiving environments has been shown to produce significant positive effects by boosting mood, morale and empathy, which in turn increases caregiver efficiency. These effects help ensure staff members are able to provide the best possible care to patients and residents.

Art Boosts Morale

The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of 45,000 primary care doctors and 46,000 surgeons and medical specialists by 2020. As baby boomers age, nursing homes and hospitals are becoming more crowded and staff members are working overtime to make up for a lack of available caregivers. It’s tremendously important for healthcare providers and senior living communities to take extra measures in order to maintain the mental and physical health of their team members. Did you know that employees are significantly happier and more productive in environments with art on display? It’s true; art has the power to help maintain a healthy mindset. A study found 90% of staff members agreed visual and performing arts created “a very pleasant working environment” (Staricoff, Duncan, & Wright, 2004). An attractive environment adorned with artwork increases employee morale. Staff members who enjoy their working environment are less likely to seek alternate employment opportunities and more likely to refer potential candidates to their workplace. Taking these factors into consideration may help healthcare providers and senior living communities combat the predicted caregiver deficit in the coming years

Art Positively Affects Mental and Physical Wellbeing

Studies have shown images depicting pleasant nature landscapes have calming effects on viewers and can even lower their blood pressure. In office environments, artwork can increase efficiency by up to 20% and working in a room with art improves mood, decreases errors and improves overall focus among staff members. A view of an art piece from a worker’s desk can vastly improve their concentration and motivation. Mistakes in healthcare can be potentially serious and even life-threatening, so the evidence for art decreasing the likelihood of errors is very promising for its efficacy in healthcare and caregiving environments.

Art Increases Empathy

The presence of art has been linked to an increase in empathy among caregivers. Dialogues on art dealing with illness showed improved awareness of interpersonal relations and empathy among student nurses (Wikström, 2003). Viewing art improves the diagnostic strategies of healthcare workers by improving their creative thinking and empathic abilities. Since art improves both mood and awareness, caregivers exposed to art are able to cultivate better relationships with their patients, which improves the emotional health and mood of patients and residents resulting in faster healing times and better quality of life.

Art is Powerful

The next time you find yourself in a healthcare environment or senior living community, take a moment to look at the art on the walls and consider all of the amazing effects it has on the people who see it every day… you might be surprised by the effect it will have on you.


The Power of Art is a blog series by ARCH Design, Artwork & Framing. Stay tuned for our next segment to learn how art can boost the immune system and help patients heal faster.