Week 4- The Nursing Profession as an Art by nicolette afan

I found this weeks topic of medicine in relation to art most interesting. Being a nursing major and of a family composed of nurses and medical professionals I have always been told that nursing is not just composed of the science aspect, but greatly involves a nature of genuine care and concern for another’s total well being. In fact, the modern version of the Hippocratic oath includes the declaration “I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.” I think especially in this age that highly acknowledges achievements in science and technology, the preceding passage of the Hippocratic oath is an easily forgotten component of medicine. Nursing in particular, is a medical profession that requires immense compassion and empathy due to nurses close involvement and intimate commitment in their patients physical and emotional health. Some may even consider a nurses balance of caring for both the patients physical health and also emotional and spiritual well being as a form of art. Florence Nightingale, a notorious nurse advocate and researcher, expostulated that “Nursing is an art, and if it is to be made an art, it requires as exclusive devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work, for what is 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 the fine Arts”.

I know that at first it may seem weird to think of a profession as a form of art, since often times art is thought to consist of only tangible works, but what really constitutes art? Last week reading included the idea that art can be defined and valued in its ability to be replicated or imitated. Conversely, Sheppard A.,(1986) in Aesthetics : an introduction to the philosophy of Art, wrote that ” the distinguishing feature of art has been held to be either imitation, or expression, or form.” In the same manner, Plato expressed that” Art is the things which are acquired or produced craft or skill.”

According to the previous characteristics of art nursing can be considered as a form of art. Nursing in the past was a profession that was fueled by the intrinsic need to express care for others and aid in the healing process. Increasingly more in modern day due to the changing role and importance of nurses in the medical field, nursing has truly become a unique multidimensional discipline that entails not only precision and acuity in knowledge of the sciences, but also skills in communication, assertiveness, and stress management. Nurses must attain the knowledge of healing patients, but of equal of importance and of one that is not learned, but is innate, nurses must express compassion and concern for their patients by listening and continually being mindful and respectful of each patient’s particular situation. The caring aspect of nurses is immensely important to patient health because it restores in the patient a sense of trust and dignity. In fact, nurses this year are considered to be the number one trusted professionals. The nurses manner of attending to both physical and emotional needs of the patient, in order to address the whole health of the patient, is routine for nurses, and is replicated in some form in every nursing encounter and can be another factor in declaring nursing as an art.

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