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KU Alumnus breathes life into nursing department with new murals

By Evie M Barrett Oct 18, 2021
New mural designed for KU nursing department

KU’s nursing department has been upgraded, with high-tech equipment in the simulation suites, in addition to two new murals on display.

The recently finished 18-month renovation at Kingston Hill campus involved putting up murals designed by local artist Alban Low, who studied MA applied art at KU.

“Both works have been incredibly important to me, as Kingston and the University have always been part of my life. I studied there and have kept in contact ever since,” said Low.

“We were really keen to have art on the walls to show the importance of the arts in nursing, to capture the students’ and staff’s imagination, as well as hopefully inspiring people to stop for a moment during their busy days to take in all of the different aspects,” said Sally Richardson, Associate Professor in Simulated Learning and Clinical Skills at KU, who commissioned the artwork. 

The first of the murals was inspired by children’s books Busy Busy World and What Do People Do by Richard Scarry, giving a cartoon insight into nursing environments.

“We wanted to show the observer a glimpse into the healthcare world, demonstrating the diversity of the nursing role,” said Richardson. “As a nurse we can work in many different settings from wards to the community, to research and education, to schools and in the army.

“The art shows how health care professionals work hard caring for their patients and families, highlighting how they recently came together as a team in every discipline, every speciality and every age group to show the strength, resilience and excellence in nursing care,” said Richardson.

“On a personal note, it really helped me get some perspective from everything that was happening in the world and in my life due to COVID,” said Low of his initial mural, designed during the national lockdown.

Low was then commissioned for a second artwork in summer of this year, intended to reflect the joys and challenges of nursing.

“We wanted it to contrast in style from the first piece,” said Richardson. “We asked Alban for the art to be more abstract, looking at the multi-faceted and complex nature of healthcare.”

“This was a harder theme and much more personal,” said Low. “This wasn’t about looking from afar, but about feelings, both from a patient’s perspective, and the mix of emotions nurses must feel constantly.”

Low’s two designs were revealed on October 5, alongside enhancements to KU’s award-winning nursing simulation suites.

The suites were given new high-tech equipment to simulate realistic hospital environments, including image projections, mannequins, a medication management room, ceiling mounted cameras, and a control room to make calls to the ward.

These upgrades come shortly after refurbishments to the Biotechnology Laboratories at KU were revealed at the start of term.

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