Nursing, the Finest Art: An Illustrated History

Nursing, the Finest Art: An Illustrated History

Nursing, the Finest Art: An Illustrated History

Nursing, the Finest Art: An Illustrated History


NURSING, THE FINEST ART traces the social, political, and economic history of nursing from its origins through contemporary practice. Designed for nurses in all specialties and settings, this edition includes new material on nurses' involvement in recent world events; more international nursing information; and updated and expanded content on the historical significance of nursing associations. Perfect for all nurses with an interest in the history of their profession and an appreciation of fine artwork. Spanish version of 1st edition also available, ISBN: 84-7592-239-2


It is something to be able to paint a picture, or to carve a statue, and to make a few objects beautiful. But it is far more glorious to carve and paint the atmosphere in which we work, to effect the quality of the day—This is the highest of the arts.


Nursing has long been defined as both an art and a science. The primary emphasis, however, has been on the scientific aspects of nursing with little consideration given to its state as an art. Nursing is a fine art. According to Florence Nightingale, it is "the finest of the fine arts." Nursing is not merely a technique but a process that incorporates the elements of soul, mind, and imagination. Its very essence lies in the creative imagination, the sensitive spirit, and the intelligent understanding that provide the very foundation for effective nursing care. These have been captured consistently in a wide range of illustrative material that can greatly enhance the study of nursing history through visual representation. Every art gallery has its nursing saints, nurturing mothers, healing miracles, sick beds, and lying-in chambers. Many of the finest paintings and sculptures dealing with nursing subjects have been done by the "great masters" and contemporary artists. All of these serve to capture the art of nursing.

Nursing: The Finest Art: An Illustrated History has been a labor of love and a realization of a dream. It has been a labor because I have struggled to portray effectively the eloquent beauty of nursing and nursing care so that all who read the words and see the illustrations will appreciate its vitality. My love of both history and nursing provided the motivation to demonstrate the historical development of nursing through an integration of a variety of selected illustrations and written text. The dream that this book would be written and published initially belonged to Dr. Teresa E. Christy, who died "too young and too soon" but not before she had nurtured my interest in nursing history and had become my mentor as I began my journey into historical research. The words of this history are mine, but the spirit is Terry's.

This book is intended to provide an illustrated history of nursing from primitive times to the present. It is written for nurses, other interested professionals, and the layman. Various forms of art are used to depict the particular shifts and changes in the roles and functions of the nurse as they . . .

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