Nominate an RN, LPN or CNA for…Project HEAL:  The JOY Experiment

A collaboration between:  IDEAS xLabCreative Agents of ChangeKentucky Nurses AssociationCompassionate Louisville: Healthcare Constellation

You can make a tax deductible donation supporting The Joy Experiment through the Creative Agents of Change Foundation, a 501c3 based in Louisville, KY.  Your donation will fund the project related expenses. 

 Creativity, Joy and Caregiving

Florence Nightingale, regarded as one of the founders of modern nursing was known as the lady with a lamp.  Nursing is all about touching lives. And, lives touching yours along the way. Nursing is rewarding and hard.  Nursing is compassion in action. The stress of nursing often leaves nurses emotionally drained. Accessing of creativity can allow nurses to reconnect with the basic precept of the nursing profession—providing compassionate care to those who are too ill to care for themselves.

Creativity, art, poetry and music can also help nurses care for their own well-being. They learn to express themselves more easily, to clarify and personalize their sense of self and spirituality, to understand the need for self-awareness and self-care, and to learn to observe and create more opportunities for change and choice. Perhaps the most significant factor in creative encounters is that they allow nurses to become more comfortable with a state of not knowing. This, in turn, allows them to develop a deeper understanding of the complex and oftentimes obscure and unpredictable nature of pain, illness, and the dying process. These sensibilities allow caregivers to attend to the JOY of participating in the caregiving process rather than solely to patient outcomes.

JOYFUL - Shining Like The Sun

by Theo Edmonds, Poet & Son of a Nurse

I met your life. It was looking at me strongly.
It gave me pause.

Today, across a crowded room, I met your life.
It was so familiar to me - I cried.

I met your life. It was a deep loss to my flesh.
It was my broken body. Today, I crossed a crowded room, 
To meet your life. It was so familiar to me - I cried.

Then through my tears... I began to smile.
I smiled like I did ages ago.
When the wind whipped up through my toes.
When my fingers bent forward to transform
a firefly into a momentary hand lantern.
Transforming me too… Into a person with a lamp.

Today, when I saw you, JOYFUL, Shining like the sun
I smiled like that again.

The Opportunity

Louisville won the Culture of Health prize from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2016. This award recognized the work that people are doing all around our city to make Louisville a healthier place. 

The Joy Experiment focuses on RNs, LPNs and CNAs who use different types of creativity (art, music, poetry, etc.) to help care for themselves and their fellow caregivers. We are especially interested in those who also have an interest in social justice and health equity.

Who We Are Looking For:

5-10 RNs, LPNsor CNAs who…

  • work in one of the hospitals or other clinical sites (physician office, long term care, rehabilitation, home health agencies, etc) around the Smoketown neighborhood. (Although we will not turn away caregivers from other Louisville locations if they want to participate). We are also looking for clinical professionals who work at health plans (i.e., Passport, Humana, etc)
  • write poetry, play music, dance, do visual art or any other type of creative practice
  • would like to share a meal together and discuss how their creative practice helps them stay healthy (mentally or physically).  The meal and conversation will be filmed.

IDEAS xLab’s Project HEAL team will use the gathered stories to develop an arts and culture program that shares creative ways for health sector caregivers to care for their social, emotional and physical health.

The original group of caregivers will serve as "Art + Health Ambassadors" within their organizations and help The Joy Experiment organizers refine the program so that it can be promoted to other caregivers as a digital learning commons.

Time Commitment: 7-9 hours over a period of 6 months.

  • 3 hours (for the lunch/dinner session)
  • 2 hours helping to refine program after it is created
  • 2-4 hours as Art + Health ambassadors

How to Be Involved

Do you know an individual who would make a good Ambassador for The Joy Experiment?  

You can nominate yourself or another person. It’s a simple 3 question process. Use this link:

TIMELINE: Nominations will open mid-April and remain open through mid-May.  The first meeting of Joy Experiment participants will take place in early June.

Participants in The Joy Experiment will have their information shared with Louisville Health Advisory Board’s Cultural Committee and the Health Ambassadors Program being conducted by the Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil.  Learn more about that program here:


About Project HEAL

Project HEAL (Health. Equity. Art. Learning.) is IDEAS xLab’s approach to operationalizing artists’ potential as Creative Agents of Change toward a Culture of Health. Health for All is a major societal goal of governments, and the cornerstone of sustainable community development. IDEAS xLab believes that artists have a key and important role to play in catalyzing and sustaining movement toward the goal.  Project HEAL is transdisciplinary approach designed around a commitment to equity in health. We recognize that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, sexual orientation, political belief, economic or social condition.

Learn more here: