Monday, May 7, 2018

Who's the new face?

A friendlier, more relatable skull and cap

A few people tried talking me out of the name 'Death Nurse' for my plans to develop a practice based on working with clinicians, caregivers, and the community around the challenges of serious illness (the term currently used in place of terminal or life-limiting illness) and care at end of life. Their comments made me pause, briefly, before plunging ahead.

They were aghast at my old logo. I admit it was a bit stark, with the black background, sinister grin, and fat red cross. Such are the limits of clip art.

Just as I've gained confidence with the name as this venture rolls along, I've also become more comfortable with the idea of playful images and graphics. I would not have considered doing some of my own illustrations a year ago, but now I've got a set of colored pencils!

If death and dying is "hot" right now, graphic medicine is even hotter.

As for the nurses cap: some nurses have been upset with me about that, claiming it feeds an outdated stereotype. I haven't actually seen a nurse wear one in years, but when I was in a hospital-based diploma nursing school from 1973-76, they were very important. 

I never wore one myself, but getting the cap in the second half of our first year, after almost half of our classmates were dropped from the program, was a BFD, a sign that we really were on our way.

Also, too: every program had their own cap design. Some looked pretty silly to me, like cupcake wrappers or weird origami. But there was never any doubt that the person wearing it was a nurse

I guess today, the nursing cap has been replaced by a Littmann stethoscope draped over the shoulders. But docs do that too, so how to tell the difference? (Hint: nurses generally go for the $50 Select, or maybe the $100 Classic III).

Also, too: no shoulders on a skull.

The only decent piece of nurses cap clip art I could find for that first logo had a big fat red cross on it, and I knew it could eventually attract undesired attention from the organization of the same name. So, drawing my own skull also gave me the freedom to choose something else, or nothing at all.

The plain white cap just didn't look good, and risked confusing visitors - was the skull a sailor? a baker? some functionary in a religion that liked silly hats?

I settled on the Celtic knot called the "triquetra,"or "triangle." It's said to represent the Holy Trinity of Christian belief, as well as the interconnection of all life and the universe, and is often depicted in green, the color most associated with both life and Ireland.

Also, too: Jeanne was born a Murphy, and was proud of her heritage, so...