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International Day of the Nurse

07 May 2010

Artwork created by a local nurse portraying a typical day in the life of a nurse through images of their hands is to be a focal point of this year’s celebrations of the International Day of the Nurse.

The exhibition, created by Corbiere ward nurse Maria Da Encarnação will run from 10 May in the special events room at the General Hospital, and is open to the public.

The pencil drawings were created for Maria’s final assessment work in her art degree through Highlands College linked to the University of Plymouth. She has gained the degree over a seven year period, working on it on a part-time basis.

The International Day of the Nurse is marked annually on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale. However, the day has been widened out into a week of events, which will culminate in a tea party on Friday 14 May, where Maria’s work will be on display to guests.

Each image of her colleagues’ hands, which she photographed first, took Maria between 25 and 30 hours to draw.

The work was previously exhibited in Jersey as part of end of year degree show an exhibition ‘room within a room’ and on that occasion, hospital curtains were drawn around a bed and a locker was put in place to act as a backdrop for the images.

“All my work, throughout my degree, has been about nursing,” Maria said. “This work I created is called Xposed. That is because it not only exposes what nurses do day to day, but also the relationship we build up with patients, the vulnerability the patient  might feel through being in hospital, and it brings our work into the public eye.

"I felt there were a lot of stereotypes about nurses, and I hope this exhibition breaks those down. Nurses are the administrators and the prescribers of care. We have the privileged to be at someone’s birth and the honour at someone’s death.”

All the detailed images focus on the hands of the nurse, and the different stages in the day of the nurse, depicting both the practical and emotional events they are involved in, whether it is putting on a patient wristband, removing jewellery after death or giving a patient oxygen.

All of Maria’s work, who has been a nurse on Corbiere ward for 17 years, is closely linked with the nursing profession. She has been a nurse for 26 years.

"I feel that my work has a maturity now it might not have had if I had studied art at college earlier,’ she said.

"I have been very fortunate in my work, and I would like to thank my first line manager Jane Edgar who has been my back bone throughout the degree and I couldn’t have done it without my colleagues, my manager Helen Hooper, and the director of nursing and governance, Rose Naylor.

"Everyone continues to inspire me to continue and are 100 per cent behind the work that is being produced.”

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