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The provocative role of art in nursing.

I just wanted to write and say that I really enjoyed the Viewpoint article, Pride and Prejudice--Nurses' struggle with reasoned debate, in the October issue of Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand (pp19-21).

Of course, I immediately felt there were parallels with the response to the aged-care photo essay published in the journal last year. (Who Cares, Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand, May 2006, pp19-23). Again, art plays a role in provoking when it is not picture-postcard-predictable and "safe and sentimental, to quote nurse-poet Cortney Davis.

I greatly admire the editor Diana J. Mason for publishing the poem, Learning the Bones, and defending her decision to do so, just as Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand's co-editors did last year, following the furore following the publication of the photo essay. It must take courage. I saw that there was a recent letter in a similar vein about Roger Hall's play, Who wants to be 100?. The letter, (New play denigrates rest-home workers. Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand, July 2007, p5) implied that nurses do not, and should not, be portrayed as behaving unprofessionally. Unfortunately, in reality, this does happen, and the fact Hall's play revealed it gives credit to him as an observant writer.

Finally, I agree with Diana J. Mason in that our educative processes are sorely lacking in encouraging critical, independent, creative thinking in nursing. The pressure to conform to a prescribed image of nursing and what it is to be a nurse is enormous.

Lorraine Ritchie, RN, BA, MHSci, Christchurch
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Author:Ritchie, Lorraine
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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