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Nursing artwork unveiled at RCN’s Heath HQ

A pop art collage in tribute to pioneering Welsh nurse Betsi Cadwaladr, has gone on display at RCN Wales’ headquarters, Ty Maeth on the University Hospital campus in Heath.

The foundation of the artwork by Nathan Wyburn depicts an image of Betsi Cadwaladr, made using photographs of RCN Wales Nurse of the Year finalists since the first awards in 2012.

Nathan Wyburn, who specialises in creating iconic celebrity portraits and pop culture imagery, has used a variety of memorabilia from RCN Wales’ history to develop this striking piece of art.

The mementos featured on the exhibit include a history of RCN Wales from the construction of Ty Maeth to the revolutionary Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 that has been enacted to protect patients and staff. 

It also features a photograph of Denise Llewellyn MBE FRCN, current RCN Wales Board Chair, as a ward sister in Singleton Hospital, Swansea; the RCN Wales Board Chair chain; and a photograph of Helen Whyley, current RCN Wales Director, with fellow third year nursing students at Morriston Education Centre, Swansea, after she had received her final grade in 1996.

Betsi was buried in a pauper’s grave in London in 1860. In 2012 RCN Wales and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board campaigned to raise money for a proper memorial for her. Since 2006, RCN Wales has held biennial Betsi Cadwaladr lectures; in this year’s presentation, Professor Donna Mead shared a newspaper article featuring Betsi in the top 50 greatest Welsh people.

Helen Whyley, Director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales, said: “Nathan has created such a distinctive image to help us mark 2020 International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The combination of Betsi Cadwaladr, the intrepid nurse from Bala who worked tirelessly to care for injured soldiers in the Crimean War, and our Nurse of the Year Awards alumni, who represent the very best of nursing in Wales today, is very special indeed.

“The artwork features many significant items from the course of RCN Wales’ history, and I am honoured that it includes the buckle that was given to me by my proud parents when I received my nursing degree.  Nursing professionals work so hard each and every day – in particularly challenging conditions this year – it is particularly special to be able to recognise them through this unique piece of art.”

Nathan Wyburn said: “As a proud Welsh person, it has been an absolute honour to create the artwork for RCN Wales. It is definitely one of my favourite pieces of work I have created in 2020.”S

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