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Art Nursing

Art Nursing



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Published by: raj on Jul 30, 2009
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ICUs and Nursing Web JournalISSUE 9
(January-March 2002)ISSN 1108-7366
All rights reserved
Page 1 of 14
Nursing as an ArtNursing as an ArtNursing as an ArtNursing as an Art
Rovithis Michalis, RN, MScRovithis Michalis, RN, MScRovithis Michalis, RN, MScRovithis Michalis, RN, MScAbstract:Abstract:Abstract:Abstract:
 It is more important now than ever to define the goals of nursing byusing an aesthetic approach. In every day practice the nurse must explore and adopt these functions, which constitute the essence of nursing as an art. The aim of this paper is to firstlyexplore the notion of nursing as an art, underpinned by the philosophy of art and to secondlydiscuss the hidden connections and the criteria for nursing seen or thought to be an art. Inthis paper, the aesthetic values have been used to depict and to expose the invisible qualitiesof nursing. Through the written text the attempt to explore the nature of nursing by anaesthetic approach, reveals that the essence of nursing is constituted by the same origins,which define the essence of art.This exploration of the literature led to the recognition of the quality of imitation as anattempt of the artist to awaken individuals to understand what a piece of art represents. Respectively, a nurse by represents a picture of wholeness for the health, attempt to stimulate patient to move forwards regaining control and achieving the state of well-being. The searchof the expression as one of the sources of the aesthetic values has brought to the surface that nursing is expressed as a whole of unique functions containing love, advocacy, calmness, careand empathy. The exploration of the combination of the elements, their articulation or their structure exposes the beauty itself. The beauty of a statue as Venus of Milo as well as, interms of nursing, the beauty of caring as the heart of nursing. However it is difficult tocapture the totality of nursing in this paper, which attempts more to portray this beauty of nursing rather than to seek for a clear answer of what nursing is.
Key Words:
 Art, Nursing history, Nursing Theory, Aesthetic Nursing, Philosophy of  Nursing.
ICUs and Nursing Web JournalISSUE 9
(January-March 2002)ISSN 1108-7366
All rights reserved
Page 2 of 14
hrough out the years many greatmen have said that art is uniquebut mainly controversial anddifferent from man to man and culture toculture. Taking into consideration theoriesthat have been put forth, one can onlywonders what art actually is.Related to nursing, Nightingale (1859),wrote in detail about the concept of theaesthetic and seemed to realise therelationship of certain qualities as healthand beauty. She suggested that: "
 Nursing isan art, and if it is to be made an art, it requires as exclusive a devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’swork, for what is having to do with theliving body - the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the fine Arts; I had almost said,the finest of the fine Arts
". (cited inDonahue 1996:501). However the notion of nursing and its exploration in terms of artpresupposes a clear definition of whatexactly is art that makes a craft or skill intoart?Many theorists have reached some basiccommon characteristics such as; imitation,form and expression that constitute atheoretical framework for a better approachto this dilemma. Although it is not the onlyphilosophical pathway to explore theconcept of art, it seems to be the mostsecure way to explore nursing as an art.In the Concise Oxford Dictionary (1996)art is defined as: "
both a human creativeskill or its application
". And like Platoonce asserted many years ago:
"Art is thethings which are acquired or produced craft or skill
". (cited in :Rose P. & ParkerD. 1994 :1004). Yet a definition of artshould supply an answer to someone whoasks, whether a particular object is art andsuch a definition simply does not exist.Kennick (1958:321) rejected anydefinition of art as he comments: "
 If anyoneis able to use the word ‘art’ correctly, in allsorts of contexts and on the right sort of occasions, he knows ‘what art is’ and no formula in the world can make him wiser".
Historically a variety of aesthetics theoriesdeveloped different approaches trying toilluminate and identify the concept of art.Words as feeling, apparition, sight,intuition, beauty, creation, imagination,transmission, representation, and so forthreappear constantly searching for anexplanation to what art is.According to Sheppard (1986:2): "
thedistinguishing feature of art has been held to be either imitation, or expression, or  form
". Although she has also claimed thatonly the quality of beauty is thefundamental characteristic of art.Related to nursing a constant debate hasarisen about the nature of nursing as an artor science or a combination of both of them. This kind of exploration is not anexclusive characteristic of nursing.Sciences such as dentistry, statistics andother seeking to explain their contents byexploring theories of art or by discoveringthe core of art in every day practice. Thispersistent effort to explain their contents in
ICUs and Nursing Web JournalISSUE 9
(January-March 2002)ISSN 1108-7366
All rights reserved
Page 3 of 14
terms of art, arised from the wide and rapiddevelopment of high technology. As thisboom of technology has dehumanised andhas kept man away from basic componentswhich have constituted to his satisfaction inthe work force.In nursing the attempt to recognise itself,as an art is a result of the sense that itshumanitarian nature is in danger. Nursesfocus on the unique nature of human as aninteractive whole of needs, knowledge,wills, emotions and feelings. Thus thefundamental concept of nursing is to meetthese needs of individuals.Accordingly, it is more important nowthan ever to define the goals of nursing byusing an aesthetic approach. In every daypractice the nurse must explore and adoptthese functions which constitute theessence of nursing as an art. Nevertheless,the problems of defining art more precisely,makes difficult every effort to definenursing in terms of art.Mallison (1993:7) emphasises in thedifficulty to express by writing themultidimensional whole of nursing as shesuggests that: "
nursing like dance or  painting is not primarily an art of thewritten word. Its partly Kinaesthetic -transmitted in facial expressions, posture,touch, silences, gestures, timing, intent. Attempts to pin it down with language islike chasing butterflies: It's most beautifulin motion, flitting freely outside the net of words
".However one can claim that the quality of imitation may explain more clearly theconcept of nursing as nurses perform aneveryday role of care through their nursingmodels and through their personal beliefs,knowledge and experiences.Many works of art present an imitation orin its widest sense a representation of things in a real world. Constable’struthfulness to nature and dedication to hisnative scene have passed into legend. Likein the Hay Wain picture one may discoveran admirable and perfect representation of a characteristic English landscape.Part of the interest people use to havewhen they are standing in front of a pictureas a Constable’s landscape, is that they likerecognising an area as ‘Constable country’.Additionally it seems that an artist is tryingto awake individuals to identify what apainting or sculptor’s model represents andto make them interested in his work.Sheppard (1986:7) suggests that: "
Themore successful the imitation the better theart 
”. In a piece of art as a painting, we mayadmire skill of the composition, the coolharmonies of soft colours the symmetrybetween light and shadow or may admirethe construction of a novel and the use of language in it.In relation to this, a nurse can meet apatient needs by creating a comfortableclimate thus establishing a commitment tohealing. Therefore the nurse may stimulatethe patient to regain control of his recovery.

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