What Do Pretty Gift Wrappings and Nursing Have In Common?

Do you wonder why we enjoy the pretty gift wrapping and pretty decorations?  And all pretty things for that matter?

It’s Aesthetics – the appreciation of beauty.   Aesthetics trigger different parts of our brains, our hearts, our guts … and help us feel, hear, see, touch, sense things differently …

Art brings us aesthetics.     “If the world were clear, art would not exist.” Albert Camus

Art expresses what words fail to express. This is true in paintings, images, literature, fine cuisine, movies, theatre, music, dance …

Gift wrapping tells us:  Herein lies something special for you.  So it tells us that we are special in a special way ….

So How Does This Relate to Nursing?    

Wait, hear this!    Just a couple of months ago I had to answer this for myself again.  This was after  a) studying aesthetic knowing in school, in books and classes,  b)  being surrounded by artistic types all my life, and  c)  enjoying a bit of artistic expression myself.

So, One more time ….. What does art / aesthetics have to do with nursing? 

Art is based in the humanities – what it means to be human, how to live with each other, and requires how to live authentically

2 Ways Appreciation of Beauty & Art Connect With Nursing :

  1. Nurses with patients –  The art of nursing lies in our authenticity.  Nursing as art is the expression of a deep understanding of our common human experience.  The “gift of self” is the art of nursing.    “Authentic caring is what turns the nurse craftsman into the nurse artist” (p. 197)
  2. Nurse with self – Artistic expressions are said to heal the artist; that’s what drives the process.  Personal aesthetic practices help nurses dwell in the human realm, where the arts, spirituality and humanity thrive.  Aesthetics help nurses connect with themselves —self-healing at times—and then with patients more authentically.

Working in the healthcare industry can be mind warping.   As nurses, our original education was couched in the humanities, and we are exposed to aesthetic knowing as we continue higher nursing education.   Holding onto and cultivating our authenticity requires all cylinders engaged.  This is what aesthetics do for us … they help us keep our sense of humanities and our sense of self engaged.

Enjoy Those Beautiful Gifts This Season. 


Chinn PL, Watson J. (Eds.) Art & Aesthetics in Nursing. New York: National League for Nursing Press; 1994.
image courtesy of pexels.com

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