and aesthetics, a branch of Western philosophy. Relevant
published between 1990 and 1996 in both fieldswere reviewed. Online databases searched were
and Academic Abstracts for literature in nurs-ing and aesthetics, respectively. The
tially yielded 1,999 items for the keyword "Art;"
and Nursing;" and
items for "Nursingas an
The items were cross-referenced, and
nurs-ing articles were reviewed. After perusing AcademicAbstracts, it was determined that
seemed to have the most relevant arti-cles for this analysis, and it was used predominantly torepresent the aesthetics literature. A manual review of allissues published between 1990 and 1996 yielded eightarticles for review. In addition, several books thataddressed the subject of
were reviewed.Literature Review
linpistic definition of
as identified in Webster'sThirdInternational Dictionary (1986)
power of performing certain actions
. . .
acquiredby experience, study or observation;
in theadaptation of things in the natural world to
. . .
human contrivance or ingenuity;
one of the humanities
the fine arts;
skill and taste to production according to aes-thetic principles;
conscious use of
taste, andcreative imagination in the
pro-duction of beauty;
in its most distinct sense artcontrasts with skill, artifice, and craft in puttingstress upon something more,
employing a per-sonal, unanalyzable creative force that transmitsand raises the art or product beyond a
artifice,or craft though it may involve the essential ele-ments of all three (p.
Among the eight definitions s
recurrent theme of acreative use of skill or expertise, which is the usagefound most often in the nursing literature and the focus
this concept analysis. Other meanings not addressedin the analysis include art as an occupation or a branchof learning.
product. The term
primarily intwoways, as both a process and a product.
was consistent in dictionary definitions, as well asthroughout the aesthetics and nursing literature.
many cases, the two were
interchangeably;how-ever, an attempt to distinguish between them was foundin each field. Within aesthetics, Lind (1992) maintainsthat artwork
the product or result of art, whichisa
the creative arrangement of one ormore media with the immediate principal purpose
communicating a sigruficant aesthetic object.
. . .
any creative arrangement of one or more mediawhose principal function
to communicate a sigruficantaesthetic object" (p.
Rose and Parker (19941, whoconducted a philosophic inquiry of the art of nursing,noted that to some, the process of nursing is viewed asthe art
nursing, yet others believe nursing is an artform underpinned by the philosophy of art and carryingaesthetic qualities. They
it is important to differen-tiate between the two. The "art of nursing" may be theprocess by which nursing as an art form emerges but
could be the process by which nursing as a science
the other hand, "nursing as an
shouldcarry the characteristics of art, such as representation,expression,
and beauty, as well as being the processby which these
Parker).From these two distinctions within aesthetics andnursing it would seem that the "art
equiv-alent to the
of aesthetics, and "nursing as an
equivalent to "artwork" as described in aesthetics.The function of
The review indicated that artserves a function in people's daily experience and is evenconsidered as essential to human well-being (Gardner,1948). t is expected to enrich our lives by affordinginsights, values, and emotional understanding; it isthrough
that meaning is derived (Cody,
Novitz,1996; Read, 1972).
has been frequently contrastedwith science or with nature. Values such as subjectivity,involvement, participation, and expression have been