Nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system. They are hardworking, adaptable, and resilient. From the frontline of battlefields to facing the pandemic, their role in the world makes a fitting theme for this year.

According to statistics from the World Health Organisation, if we are to achieve universal health coverage by 2030 the world needs nine million more nurses.

As part of the globally recognised Year of the Nurse and Midwife, six students and I created an exhibition that celebrates their vital role in our society.

Through presenting the evolution of nursing and its place at UC, we hope to shine a light on the importance of investing in nurses for our future.

Exhibition includes nurses uniforms and displays of patients
The I Care exhibition can be found in the library building. Source: Teegan Sear

How the exhibition came together

Representing a centuries-old profession that serves our community with compassion and courage is no simple task.

My passion to become a curator started when I walked through the doors of the Louvre, one of the world’s greatest art museums. As I was transported to ancient worlds and the medieval ages, I experienced the power of exhibitions, artifacts, and art. From that moment, I knew curating was my calling.

To create a similar experience with the “I Care” exhibition, we looked at different themes that we believed conveyed the importance of nursing. They include nursing’s history, role at UC, portrayal in the media, and the spirit of the Aussie Nurse.

Antique bottles and other items historically used by nurses.
Interesting items reflect the history of nursing. Source: Meg Hobson

We felt it was important to represent nursing in the context of Australia and UC. The largest segment of our country’s health workforce is made up of nurses and almost 300 students enrolled in a UC nursing degree last semester.

Initially, creating the exhibition required a lot of planning. We delegated tasks and research, worked out the exhibition layout, and contacted people in the nursing faculty to help with facts and potential loans.

We collected some very intriguing objects to visually showcase the nursing profession and align with our themes.

Nursing text books and nursing equipment.
The exhibition also celebrates nursing at the University of Canberra. Source: Teegan Sear

After copious amounts of emails, the final stage of creating “I Care” involved cleaning the cases and transporting the exhibition items to the UC Library. I then got to do the fun part, organising the objects in the display cases and slowly the exhibition started to take shape.

After an intense three days, the “I Care” was finally complete. The sense of pride from the team was overwhelming and I honestly think we produced the best display we could.

Through our experience we have all gained a greater understanding of the strength and knowledge it takes to be a nurse.

I care posters
I Care celebrates 30 years of teaching nursing at UC. Source: Meg Hobson

Where to see the exhibition

I strongly encourage everyone to come and check out the exhibition, and enjoy the amazing objects we have displayed from the UC collection and Health Faculty.

The exhibition is open between 10:30 am and 4:30 pm Monday to Friday in the Mura Gadi Gallery Space (to the right as you walk into the UC Library.) It will be available to visit until the 30th of September.

This was a fantastic opportunity to understand the effort and teamwork that goes into putting an exhibition together, all while celebrating the incredible role of nurses in Australia.

So come down to the Mura Gadi Gallery and see for yourself the importance of nursing, especially as the threat COVID-19 continues.

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