The Art of Nursing

Written by Aimee Lamb, Associate Lecturer (Nursing), Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney

Studying to be a nurse can be difficult at the best of times, but amidst a global pandemic, the complexities were magnified. Transitioning to online learning from what would normally be authentic, interactive, and face-to-face learning experiences was stressful for many students.

‘Zoom fatigue’ was common and, despite remarkably high student satisfaction scores, it was apparent that students’ motivation and enthusiasm for learning declined. Coupled with personal stressors, concerns about caring for COVID positive patients, and the social isolation that many students experienced, 2020 and 2021 created unprecedented challenges.

Against this background, a small group of academics from the UTS School of Nursing & Midwifery devised the Art of Nursing competition with the aim of boosting students’ engagement, motivation and sense of purpose. 

The Aim 

The Art of Nursing competition was designed to encourage and celebrate the creativity of nursing students, and to inspire their reflection on and deeper understanding of the meaning of illness, the impact of nursing care, and the experience of studying during a global pandemic.

Original artworks could be created using a variety of techniques including drawing, comics, painting, photography, poetry, literature or film. The artworks were to respond to the quotes below: 

“Nothing endures but change” Heraclitus 

“The new normal” OR “Now more than ever” 

The Response 

The judging panel was overwhelmed with the quality of the artworks submitted. The feedback from Professor Tracy Levett-Jones, Head of School, and member of the judging panel, echoed those of the other panel members (Natalie Govind, Judy Smith and Natalie Cutler):

The quality of the artwork was outstanding, but the significance and stories took our breath away! I won’t ever forget Daniel’s short film and Laura’s graduation image. The challenges faced in 2020-2021 were brought to life in the images and were so moving.

The artwork depicting the impact of COVID on patients’ experiences were also thoughtful and beautiful. That said, all of the artwork were all unique and powerful and I know they will capture the imagination of everyone who sees them.” 

Although the standard of all entries was very high, the three finalists were:  

1st Place: Daniel Sheppard 

2nd Place: Dilara Unal                            

3rd Place: Joo Ying Maureen Tan 

We have been inspired by the Art of Nursing competition and we hope to make it an annual event at UTS SONM.

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