Alex Swift is a Nurse Lecturer. She is also a teaching and learning fellow and a member of the Higher Education Academy. The overarching aim of her learning and teaching fellowship is to embed creative arts within nursing and health education. Her current focus is to employ creative arts to strive to diminish the taboo surrounding death and dying, and to encourage greater openness amongst healthcare students and health professionals about this sensitive topic.
Alex’s performance dramatizes why it is that as a society we think it is morbid to talk openly about death and dying? For the Victorians, death was commonplace, a part of life. Nowadays due to advances in medical treatments, improved nutrition and living conditions we are living longer than ever before. Whilst longevity is something to be celebrated, death being more predictable has paradoxically increased its taboo. Alex’s aim when performing this piece is to speak both emotionally and intellectually to prospective healthcare students and also the general population about the importance of greater openness about death and the consequences of not having those essential end of life conversations. My presentation will discuss the transformative impact of the performance on both staff and students.