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The 'Art' of Nursing
Pat McNulty believes photographs and art can help nurses deal with stress

Posted on: August 17, 2009


art picture

When a patient in a hospital room is surrounded by peaceful art or images, it may help the healing process, says Pat McNulty, RN. "Waterfalls can create a sense of calm; lilies in bloom can represent life­­­ coming into fullness," he says.

Taking this idea to caregivers, McNulty believes nurses too, can fill their homes with art or pictures to create a peaceful oasis and unwind from a stressful day. "A home should be a place that can uplift and refresh your spirit," McNulty says.

Second Passion
Which is why, along with being a full-time psychiatric nurse at Montgomery County Emergency Services, Norristown, PA, McNulty has also been a professional photographer for the past 10 years.

He has roughly 1,000 pictures on his Web site www.premierphotographer.com, which includes everything from scenic landscapes, flowers, waterfalls, lighthouses and oceans. He also offers free screensavers, desktop wallpaper and articles on decorating.

For McNulty, it's both the act of snapping photos and decorating his home with them that can be therapeutic. "I want to create pictures that refresh, delight and uplift your soul - art that helps restore the real you, where you say 'I am home!'"

Unlikely Inspiration
McNulty's interest in art began as a child. "My grandmother was an art teacher, so she taught me some of the basics of drawing and how to be observant," he says.

But after McNulty graduated from Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA, with a bachelor's degree in business, he became a supervisor of two group homes at the Indian Creek Foundation in Souderton, PA. Surprisingly, he says it was working with these patients who were mentally handicapped that made him a better photographer.

"I often saw my mentally handicapped patients being kind to one another, and always thought doing something for someone else showed the best in that person," McNulty says. "Learning about kindness and looking for the beauty in simple things has led me to becoming a better photographer, and learning patience has helped me to take my time to capture the right moment."

Two Worlds
McNulty's desire for more one-on-one contact with patients led him to earn his associate's degree in nursing from Bucks County Community College in 2002. He's been a psychiatric nurse for 6 years.

Having fulfilled his passions for nursing, as well as entrepreneurship and art with his photography business, McNulty says his life with his wife and two young daughters feels complete. One piece of advice he's given to the 25-30 nursing colleagues who've bought his photography, is the picture must resonate with you to be effective, he says.

"Pictures may represent something different to each person: A lighthouse might signify guiding lights bringing us to safe shores (security in a harsh world), or remind you of summers at the beach and evoke happy childhood memories," he says.

- Ainsley Maloney


1999-2009 All photos herein are property of Pat McNulty and may be placed or used on any website as long as you create a link back to http://www.premierphotographer.com Please feel free to set any picture on this page as wallpaper for your computer or download a free screensaver.