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