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Interwoven art of understanding

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When I care for a dying patient, I wonder where the spirit is. What does it see now? The beauty of the other side of the cycle of life? The light in the darkness? To me, the aurora borealis represents this time when the spirit can see, with wisdom, both sides—life and death. This is a time of incredible beauty even in the darkest nights.
In this crocheted pattern, called “Northern Lights,” I created a representation of what we sometimes see in the night skies of Montana. The variegated, undulating light that the needlework represents reminds me there is beauty in dying, communication in silence, and light even at the darkest hour.

Blending the art and science of nursing
by A. Gretchen McNeely, RN, DNSc
I crocheted this doily in the fall of 1996, when I co-taught the “Ways of Knowing: Aesthetics” content in the Theory Development course in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Montana State University. The piece represents the fundamental patterns of knowing. Each way of knowing is depicted by a color: Purple (empirics), peach (aesthetics), white (ethics), and green (personal). Women’s ways of knowing are represented by the blue. The four areas of nursing (clinical practice, theory, research, and education) are represented by the single doily with its four distinct sections.

Excerpted with permission from The HeART of Nursing: Expressions of Creative Art in Nursing (2nd ed.), published by Sigma Theta Tau, edited by Cecilia Wendler, PhD, CCRN, with a foreword by Jean Watson, PhD, RN, HNC, FAAN. (For more book information, visit www.nursingknowledge.org and search “HeART of Nursing.”)

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