|painted when I was 12 years old|
I was asked one time to share what creativity meant to me. I thought it would be a snap. After all, I’ve drawn since I could hold a crayon, and painted since I was 12. Art has always been part of my life.
Well, nothing snapped. I could discuss my life as an artist ad nauseum, but I decided to dig deeper and take you in a different direction. As I thought about the question, I realized that the answer, for me, went much deeper.
In 1993 I was operating a small manufacturing business. One day I went to the local community college, nudged there by a friend who wanted to apply but didn’t want to take the entrance exam alone. The person reading my results recommended I apply to the RN program. I was ready for a change.
But nursing? Was she kidding? I pondered what to do. While I pondered, I had to take an aptitude test, which was required to ensure you were going into a major that was a good “fit” for your personality. I took that and scored very high in creativity. No surprise there, since I was born with a pencil in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. The gentleman reading my results told me I might want to rethink going into nursing. I can still hear him saying: “nursing is not a career that is creative”.
I didn’t listen to him, and I am so thankful I made that decision. Sixteen years and three nursing degrees later, I know the truth. My truth, my belief.
Creativity isn’t just about art and creating artistic things. It’s about thinking outside the box.
It’s about taking what you know or learn and making something new. I consider myself creative and versatile. I love creating art, needlework, photography, and any combination of a myriad of other media I’ve worked in.
But being a nurse took my creativity to another plane, to a level that working as an artist alone could never do. For me, being a nurse was an art. The art of healing.
Creativity was the hot pack I made from a wet washcloth in a Ziploc lab specimen bag, heated in a microwave to just the right temperature and applied to an infiltrated IV site to prevent infection and ease the pain of swelling.
Creativity was the armboard I taped to a baby’s IV site to give him the maximum amount of arm movement while protecting the site so he could get the antibiotics he desperately needed.
Creativity was positioning a 98 year old woman in bed to make her comfortable and to allow the bedsores covering her emaciated body to heal. Positions they never taught me in nursing school.
Creativity was applying dressings that couldn’t be removed by a toddler who had been inquisitive and determined enough to pull a pot of boiling eggs off a hotplate, scalding his face, chest and arm.
Every day of the more than 16 years I’ve worked as a nurse, I’ve been creative. I’ve problem-solved, listened and suggested, and had ideas that come from a place inside my head that is where my creativity springs from.
Creativity is the space outside the box. The place where a paradigm shift of beliefs takes you from using what you know, to the creation of new knowledge.