The fine art of nursing

The American Red Cross (featured in this work by American artist Edwin H. Blashfield at the turn of the 20th century) has played a key role in American nursing

A parade of new people has passed through our lives of late — Chrissy, Phil, Aaron and others. All nurses we got to know while Christopher was in the hospital for a fracture fix.

The doctors and nurses at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn have taken fine care of many of our family members, so we’re familiar with many of its hallways.

My favorite place in the hospital is right outside the cafeteria. It just so happens that a Starbucks bar and barista beckon nearby — and that espresso heightens my appreciation for art.

There’s a wall that houses Young Arts of Arizona exhibits. The current exhibit features work by students from Hopi Elementary School in Scottsdale and the Greater Scottsdale Boys and Girls Clubs.

Common themes include nature (butterflies, expansive skies, bright flowers) and dreams and wishes (stars, unicorns, rainbows). There’s nothing like children’s art to brighten our days, and even hospital stays.

It got me wondering about the depiction of nurses and other medical professionals in the arts. They’re all around us in film, photography, painting and more.

Among the best known perhaps are Nurse Ratched from the novel and film “One Flew Over the Cockoo’s Nest” and Dr. Frankenstein from Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” of Broadway.

Of course, I see a happier face when I think of nurses — because my mom spent her early career as a registered nurse in Colorado, working in private medical practice and hospital seetings (including the emergency room).

I recall reading years ago that nurses and teachers get high marks in all sorts of areas — from listening skills and empathy to patience and loyalty — skills our society would do well to value more vigorously.

I stumbled on a website while searching for nurses and the arts. It’s www.artbynurses.com. It was developed by a Canadian artist and nursing professional, and I hope you’ll spend some time exploring it.

Searching for something similar in the United States, I came upon a Georgia artist and medical professional named Marti Hand, whose website also offers insights into the healing power of art — for both patient and medical practitioner.

I also discovered a “Creativity in Health Care” blog that I’m going to spend part of the day exploring as my son sleeps off some of the wear and tear of surgery.

I’ll save explorations of artistic depictions of nurses for another day when I’m home and back to “Stage Mom” rather than “Nurse Mom” duties.

For now, I am off to enjoy the sleeping masterpiece called Christopher.

— Lynn

Note: Once we’re back on the “art adventures” road again, we’re going to do some homework on the American Museum of Nursing, which I learned of through the ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation. And if we ever get to Philadelphia, we’ll eagerly explore the Museum of Nursing History.

Coming up: Careers in the arts, Tips for college applicants with a performing arts focus

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