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The caring-quilting connection

I have been a fiber artist and quilter for almost a decade, a nurse for just a few years. I couldn’t help but see the parallels between my art using fabrics and the healing arts of nursing. Fabric touches our lives from the first breath until death, and it is part of many special events. During a lifetime, quilts may provide warmth, comfort, and security. I see these same characteristics in nursing. I also realize these characteristics are just the beginning of the art of nursing.

Piles of fabrics in myriad colors and designs line the walls of my art studio. Within this space are countless possibilities for creating art. As I begin my practice as a nurse, I also see unlimited opportunities for creating art within the nurse-patient relationship. I’ve come to see that the materials to practice the healing art of nursing are always within us.

The quilt “Unlimited Possibilities” conveys the sense of possibility that I see for the profession. Each square is made from one of 25 unique striped fabrics. When the fabrics were cut into different shapes and reassembled, unexpected designs emerged. A new whole was created from these individual squares, revealing just one of the possible quilted pieces. Through art making, I’ve come to see that nursing also has an opportunity to take its art to new levels. Nursing can experience unlimited possibilities for healing by creating a new wholeness that comes from the heart.

Excerpted with permission from The HeART of Nursing: Expressions of Creative Art in
Nursing (2nd ed.), published by Sigma Theta Tau, edited by M. 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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