Mural Depicts the Many Faces of Nursing

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By Kelly Brooks-Staub

Photo by Will Kirk

Mural Depicts the Many Faces of Nursing For any college attendee, the student lounge is a haven for studying, eating, meeting, taking naps, and socializing. But at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, the lounge has become more than a gathering place for students—it has become a reflection of the student body itself.

This spring, a student-led effort has transformed a blank wall adjacent to the student lounge into a 150-square-foot “Faces of Nursing” mural. The project depicts the diversity of the nursing workforce and is the result of collaboration among a unique group of Hopkins students, coordinated by nursing student Rayanne Harris ’06.

“I wanted to make a difference at the School of Nursing—’make my mark’ on this school in some way,” says Harris. “I wanted it to be meaningful and lasting.” As Harris conversed with friends and classmates about a mural for the student lounge, the idea began to pick up momentum. In November, students held brainstorming sessions, cutting images out of magazines to provide inspiration for the mural. These initial collaborations led Harris to work with artist Frank Gallimore in designing the mural with an eye toward diversity, what she calls an “aesthetic representation of the school’s values.”

The finished mural consists of five, five-foot-wide panels that each shows a distinctly different “face” of nursing. The first scene depicts a nurse listening to the heartbeat of a hospital patient, while another features military nurses caring for a patient in a field tent. The center panel shows community health nurses visiting a family in a neighborhood of East Baltimore row houses. Another nurse is shown giving Reiki, a Japanese form of alternative healing, to a patient. The final image is that of a nurse educator in front of a classroom. The panels depict both male and female nurses, with ethnic diversity ranging from Caucasian to Asian to African-American.

After Gallimore, a graduate student in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, completed the design, nursing student volunteers worked through the month of February to trace the mural’s outline onto the wall. Twenty-two students attended a “paint-in” event on February 24, 2006, to cover most of the mural’s surface with colorful paint. The final details took considerable time and effort, with each one of the faces taking Gallimore five to six hours to complete.

“This vibrant mural will inspire students, staff, and faculty alike,” says Harris. “‘Faces of Nursing’ emphasizes that creativity and beauty are not lost elements of nursing. The mural’s many layers of meaning remind students that though we have many choices in our professional paths, all of them carry common elements of compassion, knowledge, and responsibility.”

Harris and Gallimore completed the project with team members Bhavini Mody ’06, art director; faculty advisor Jo Walrath, PhD, RN; and staff advisors Sandra Angell, associate dean for student affairs, and Nancy Rent, administrative assistant in the Office of Admissions and Student Services. Funding was provided through the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association and donations from the senior class of 2006 and the junior class of 2007.

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