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Artworks created during the course of UNE student project Compassionate Touch. UNE Dental Medicine students collaborated with Creative and Fine Arts faculty and Dental Medicine faculty to create the film Compassionate Touch, focusing on five stages associated with anxious dental patients, as depicted through artwork, interprofessional interviews and scholarly sources. The film highlights the current understanding and management of the dental needs for high fear patients before, during, and after their visit to the dentist, and how interprofessional health care providers can assist patients to achieve quality patient-centered care.

Artwork Descriptions

First image is a photograph of the five artworks taken while they were displayed in UNE's Portland Campus Art Gallery during the exhibition Wonder, held February-March, 2016.

Listen to Identify
ARTIST STATEMENT: Anxiety and fear may cause a overwhelming feeling of constriction throughout a person’s body. They may experience involuntary shaking, nausea, vomiting, or shortness of breath. The suffering is not always visible and patients do not always reveal the underlying cause of their anxiety. As healthcare providers, we need listen to identify. The chaotic textures and colors in the painting illustrate the complexity of fear/anxiety the patient may be experiencing.

ARTIST STATEMENT: It’s okay to not feel okay. It’s okay to feel vulnerable, because patients are placed in vulnerable positions. They cannot physically see or possibly even comprehend what is happening in their mouth. Any part of the dental visit (overstimulation, brightness, anesthetic injections, pain, trauma, sounds, and/or other dental experiences) may negatively affect the patient and prevent them from receiving the quality care that they need.

Everyone has a Story
ARTIST STATEMENT: As the title suggests, everyone has a story. This represents the anxious person discovering and revealing what their story truly is. As they unravel and reveal themselves to the doctor, some of the anxiety begins to dissipate. The patient is still constricted and affected, but it’s lessening as the patient and doctor develop a deeper level of communication and understanding.

Not Alone
ARTIST STATEMENT: The painting depicts the doctor underneath the patient. The humility shown by lowering one’s self gives the other the position of power and confidence to open up. When the patient shares their story, the doctor listens and responds with empathy, emphasizing that they are not alone. The flowing movements of the artwork shows the continued lessening of fear/anxiety and the development of trust.

The Compassionate Touch
ARTIST STATEMENT: The doctor and patient are depicted on the same level as equals, joining hands in agreement and trust. Now with mutual understanding of anxieties and boundaries to respect, the dentist can move forward and proceed with treatment.

Publication Date



Dentistry | Film Production | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Interprofessional Education | Printmaking

Physical Description of Original

Media: Acrylic Paintings on Linocut Carvings 12 x 24

Compassionate Touch Artworks: Listen To Identify, Validation, Everyone Has A Story, Not Alone, The Compassionate Touch
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