October 25, 2010

Philadelphia is known as the “city of murals.” They’re everywhere. On October 6th, I was in the city for the unveiling of a new nursing mural and was surprised at how many other murals I saw during my brief visit. It provides the city with a lively, engaging, curious, artistic feel to it. And the newest nursing mural brings an exciting new approach to murals.

For many years, the most frequently requested mural site in the city was the nursing mural at the corner of Broad and Vine Streets. That mural focused on nursing’s history. But the wall was becoming compromised and the mural needed to be replaced. With the support of the Independence Foundation and others, muralist Meg Seligman was commissioned to create a new nursing mural. She interviewed nurses and repeatedly heard about the changing roles for nurses and the current and future potential for the profession to transform health care. As a result, the new mural is named “The Evolving Face of Nursing” and reflects the profession’s diversity in its providers, settings, roles, and opportunities—all with a consistency of purpose and vision: a commitment to improving the health of individuals, families, and communities.

The mural is simply fabulous. There are faces of real nurses all over this  complex wall–some large, some small, some obvious, some hard to see initially; some looking like photos, others like a Warhol print. Color is pale and brilliant, pastel and iridescent. At night, LED lights highlight various parts of the mural in ways that keep changing. Here is a video showing the mural with Meg Seligman describing it:

Jane Golden is the energetic, visionary woman responsible for the city’s murals. She sees this and the other murals in the city as “the autobiography of the city.”

I arrived at the groundbreaking early and was fortunate that another nurse, Nina Howze-Glover, BS, ADN, did, too. She’s the new face of nursing—a new graduate who chose to work in the community instead of a hospital. She works for the Health Promotion Council of Philadelphia on promoting healthier food choices in schools. Hear her own description of the work she’s doing as a nurse:

Nina Howze-Glover is transforming the health of the children of Philadelphia—and their families. Her face isn’t on the mural but her vision, purpose, and passion are there. Thanks to Meg Seligman for a brilliant new mural dedicated to nurses and their profession. The next time you’re in Philadelphia, go by Broad and Vine, day or night.

Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, Rudin Professor of Nursing