The art of nursing - that healing presence and patient-focused practice first envisioned by Florence Nightingale.
When we think of the term " fine art" most often we envision a beautiful painting, sculpture or drawing comes to mind doesn't it? Nursing and healing is not the first thing that pops into your head when you think fine art, but the art of nursing is a fine and artful profession.
Nursing Art dates back many years to times of our predecessors. I love vintage nursing art and photography from all eras. The nursing profession has come such a long way since cotton cloth bandages and needles sharpened by the nurse, not some sterile factory many miles away. Necessity was the father of invention most days as nurses used whatever means they had to heal and care for the sick and wounded.
Timeless is the the quote from Florence Nightingale, "Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter's or sculptor's work; for what is the having to do with the dead canvas or dead marble, compared to having to do with the living body, the temple of God's spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said the finest of Fine Arts."
The Mission Field
Nursing is an art of devotion, it requires a type of selfless hands on healing presence. No matter the era of time or style of uniform worn nursing the sick and injured has the same from the heart art of caring and skillful touch of the "nurse". Task oriented robot nursing has no place in the "art" of true caring and healing, but sadly so many young nurslings go into this field with the task at hand attitude. Financial gains can also lead a nurse into the profession for some wrong reasons.
Most of us can agree that we did not go into nursing for the monetary gain, but something more....something deeper within our beings. Many nurses like myself felt a spiritual calling from above to care for others. I have always called my work my mission field, as God seems to lead me in the path of those patients that most need my care or experiences.
These Hands of Mine:
These hands of mine do not appear like a work of art that anybody wants to look at, they are worn, tired, wrinkled now and dotted in age spots, scarred up and poorly manicured. If my hands could talk they might just tell you of the many years they have been a healing presence in healthcare. How they helped me put on that very first jr volunteer (candy-striper) uniform so proudly at age 15, that eventually lead me into the field of nursing (even though I wanted to be a veterinarian).
These wrinkles might tell you many happy and sad stories of over 28 years of working in the Emergency Department, of holding many hands and giving many hugs to patients, families and co-workers. The power of touch has such a healing effect, these hands have tried to make a difference in the compassionate care we give others. Just like we use our ears to listen, we use our hands to open that conversation up and say "I care about you". These hands have held newborn babies as new life emerges, and held the dying as life faded away. There has to be an art to using your hands I believe.
The Art Of Nursing
Nursing is a timeless art of healing and devotion to care. No matter what area you work in or what level of education you may have we all practice a selfless beautiful art form. Like the painter focus's on the blank canvas, the nurse focus's on her patient and paints a picture of compassionate healing. She/He uses the tools of the nursing practice (stethoscope, bandages, scissors and such) like the artist uses a brush or sculptor uses tools to sculpt a form.
Art of Self Care, Self Love:
Remember to also take time to focus on yourself as the healer, your ability to practice your art form is only as good as you are. The Art of self-care is just as important in our lives as caring for our patients is to our mission fields. The artist can not paint if he is not well enough to lift his paint brush to the canvas and paint the picture that is from his heart.
The same thing is true for the healthcare provider that does not feel well, the care that flows from your hands is just not the same as when you are healthy and able to give your full attention to the tasks at hand, caring for your patients.
The Art of Nursing 2.0 May 5-8th 2015 is a great way to help you practice, heal your spirits and improve your art form, check out the event and sign up HERE! This 4 day virtual event coincides with Nurses Week this year.
This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival. More posts on this topic can be found at ElizabethScala.com. Find out how to participate click the box below and join us!