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The Art of Nursing

July 8th, 2011

The Art of Nursing

Wow! I can't believe that I have decided to start a blog about my nursing dedicated artwork. How did this all start? With a nurse and a nurse's cap, of course. Several years ago I had a life altering event. I was involved in a head on auto accident (not my fault!). The resulting injuries were multiple and changed my life forever. I spent a lot of time undergoing reconstructive surgeries and seeing health care providers with many of them being registered nurses. I had a lot of time to think about myself as a clinician and to experience first hand the clinical expertise of other nurses. Without my glasses, on pain medication, sleepy, or just not paying attention, I rarely knew who the registered nurse was. This started me to thinking about the cap as a traditional symbol of nursing and what my cap had meant to me. Several years later and after a lot of research, it became apparent to me that although the cap is recognized world over as a symbol of nursing, there isn't one in sight nor has anyone in the United States (that I know of) made a dedicated effort to preserve the images. Within a few years the only reminder of the nurse's cap will be faded photographs.
I started oil painting as a way to cope with the inactivity imposed upon me by my injuries, surgeries, and rehabilitation. One of the first things I painted was my nurse's cap. I loved having it and felt a great many emotions as I would look at it. For me the cap symbolized so much. The cap was a part of our professional history. For every nurse for almost 150 years the cap was a symbol of professionalism, right of passage, affiliation, unity, commonality, rank, learning, training, commitment, accountability, identity, standards, and a connection to all those nurses that had worn the cap before. Each cap was also a unique identifier of the nurse's affiliation on a smaller scale with a specific nursing program. I wore my cap with a great sense of pride for all it symbolized and communicated. Through my experience and research I identified a need to acknowledge and preserve the images of these honorable and dignified symbols of our professions' past. I also began to think of nursing caps as unique, creative, wearable pieces of art. I had found the perfect combination. My love for nursing encompassed in the symbol of the cap and my love for painting. I hope to research and paint many, many caps to showcase the common bond and the diversity within nursing to preserve these images for nursing history. I also plan to donate my paintings to a center for nursing history in the hopes that they will be preserved for generations of nurses.