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“Broken, But Not Divided”

Last Modified: 10/07/2020


Back in July, when Parkview nurse Danielle “Danni” Barger-Muncie, BSN, BA, RN, HN-BC, saw callouts for local artists to participate in the Fort Wayne Museum of Art Chalk Walk, she knew she wanted to participate.

“My background is in art,” she said. “In fact, I have a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Saint Francis, but my lifestyle just doesn’t lend to pursuing it. But when I saw this, I knew that I just really needed to be involved in a creative outlet for my own spiritual health.”

Danni, who has a second and sixth grader at home, teaches nursing at Ivy Tech and serves as the holistic nurse lead for Allen County, had a lot on her heart when she took this project on.

“I haven’t worked with patients since last November,” she shared, “and I miss it. I felt very guilty and displaced not being at the bedside during the pandemic. But I just had to be realistic. I have so much on my plate and a child with asthma and, to be honest, I was nervous about bringing something home. But even though I’m not the one standing with a patient on a ventilator, I still feel that connection to my fellow nurses. There’s a common ground that we share. We know what each other is going through. We understand.”

Because wording can be limiting, Danni decided to share all she was feeling in a form that was more familiar. She began sketching her entry for the Chalk Walk.

“I was thinking through the events of this year and wondering how to put them into an image. There is so much fear and hostility across the globe and across populations. It has been my experience that nursing is a population of its own. There is a natural camaraderie in this profession. There is a kindred connection from knowing we’ve had similar experiences that sometimes cannot be put into words. There is enough common ground that I think nurses often see each other just as nurses rather than by age, gender or race.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people across the globe, without regard to demographics. I feel like our equality as humans should naturally rise over our differences in the wake of this. I tried to make this image gender-neutral and inclusive of all skin colors, while showing some of the emotions nurses have experienced during this frontline fight.”

Once she had her concept firmed up, the rest was therapy. “I spent the day on my driveway, drawing, covered in chalk, in the heat. I told my family that this was the only thing I was doing that day, no interruptions. It was just the catharsis I needed.” After seven hours, Danni’s work of art was complete, but she never expected her vision to garner the attention it did.

“After the Fort Wayne Museum of Art judging, my friends started sharing the results on social media,” she said. Danni had won the People’s Choice category. “Eventually, it got into the hands of Vicki Maisonneuve [Director of Nursing Center of Excellence & Magnet] and she asked if they could use it in their Year of the Nurse celebration. I was honored.”

This week, each Parkview facility will receive a framed and matted copy of Danni’s artwork, titled “Broken, But Not Divided.” Her beautiful depiction of the emotional weight all nurses carry will go on display for patients, staff and visitors to enjoy.

“I hope that when nurses look at it, they remember the commonalities we all have and feel proud of the profession they’ve chosen,” she said. “I hope they know that we always have each other. We are connected to one another and we can do anything.”


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