The nursing profession can be characterised as a unique blend of attributes and philosophies that encompass scientific knowledge and artistic process. The interpersonal experience of caring in nursing is associated with a positivist sense of expression, acute observation, and compassion. It shares with artistic experience an intense motivation and analysis that involve the creative engagement of the senses. This research is informed by my forty-six years of working as a practicing registered nurse, and it takes an interdisciplinary approach between fine arts and nursing science to explore the elusive qualities of the human caring experience. My studio exploration, which uses everyday objects from the medical arena, highlights the values of empathy and sensitivity that are fundamental to the nurse–patient relationship. This is achieved through the formal strategies of repetition and placing everyday medical items in unfamiliar contexts, subsequently transforming them to evoke a provocative visual experience. These everyday items become a conduit for viewers to experience a new sensation. Functional objects are elevated to the poetic, enabling meanings to emerge that circumvent utilitarian and common associations. This research also highlights the impact of advancing technology and increased time pressures on the contemporary context of nursing, and the effect this has in decreasing interpersonal relations between nurse and patient. Furthermore, this project seeks to support interdisciplinary collaboration between visual arts and nursing science as a means to gain a better understanding of both disciplines. In doing so, I make no grandiose claims for either art or nursing as sole purveyors of feeling and emotion, but rather seek to examine the connections and correspondences between these two areas of practice that both seem to function from an underlying assumption that human beings have an unspoken desire to engage with each other.
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