Illustration by Rosie Irvine
PRN is a new magazine for nurses which aims to combine professional advice with original illustration and articles on art and health. We asked founders Anna Magnowska and Laura Quick about their plans for the title and why they wanted to launch "a beautiful read" for nurses.
Published online, PRN contains articles on issues affecting healthcare staff alongside science and healthcare-related arts and culture content. The site combines a mix of long reads and more visual content - pieces published so far include a look at increasing levels of stress and anxiety among nurses by New Statesman journalist Benedict Cooper and an article from Observer writer Euan Ferguson on his experience of having a stroke and subsequent NHS treatment.
There's also an interview with Richard Barnett about his book of medical illustration, the Sick Rose; a photo essay on a mobile medical unit in New Orleans and a look at how nurses are represented in TV, plus features on food and drink and a 'Debrief' section in which nurses can anonymously discuss professional problems.
Magnowska, an illustrator and nurse, says she had the idea for PRN a year ago: "I realised there was a huge gap between the kind of magazines and articles I like to read myself, and what was available for nurses and other healthcare professionals,” she says.
"I wanted to set it up to fill a gap I found in terms of combining medicine, science, art, culture and technology with broadsheet-type articles as well as a more irreverent take on nursing ... visually, I felt there was great potential to make something beautiful too," she adds.
Logo designed by Steven Wilson
While it's aimed at nurses and healthcare staff, Magnowska says the magazine aims to appeal to anyone with an interest in science, health and the arts.
"I hope readers will find the articles thought-provoking and interesting, and that they reflect current issues in healthcare as well as exploring life sciences and the human condition," she says. "I also hope the magazine will perhaps muddy the waters between something being specifically created for people who are scientific, medical or creative. Hopefully, PRN can be somewhere that people with one or all of those interests can find something that appeals to them, as there are many connections between these disciplines, which is in essence what PRN is about."
Illustration by Andrew Khosravani for Death in the Outback, a feature on healthcare in Australia’s Aboriginal communities originally featured in the Wellcome Trust's Mosaic magazine
Illustration by Anna Magnowska for the Debrief, a section on PRN allowing nurses to anonymously post concerns or questions for other healthcare professionals
Most of the articles are accompanied by original photography and illustration, produced by a range of freelance contributors as well as Magnowska and Quick, the magazine's creative director. While it's still in its early stages, Quick says she plans to commission more creatives and collaborative projects between nurses and artists, and possibly produce a printed annual featuring the "best bits" of PRN online.
"We want PRN to be a magazine that people look to for innovative and creative work as well as quality of writing," says Quick.
Image courtesy of the Wellcome Collection, accompanying a PRN feature on Richard Barnett's medical illustration book, The Sick Rose
Illustration by PRN co-founder Anna Magnowska
"We plan on continuing as we've started - with a mix of topical articles as well as opinion, experiences, life sciences, interviews and the more nurse-specific articles about wellbeing," adds Magnowska. "We'd also like to integrate film and sound within the magazine - we have some brilliant DJs lined up to create mixes for PRN, which will be introduced soon, and we'd like to initiate interesting collaborations between artists and scientists which we would document."
While there are several existing titles aimed at nurses and medical staff, most of these are informative rather than inspirational, with a focus on industry reports, best practice and new research.
PRN still covers these areas, but seems unique in its combination of arts, culture and lifestyle content and original illustrations - a contrast to other nursing titles, which often rely largely on stock images. (The Wellcome Trust's Mosaic publication also makes great use of illustration and combines features on art, science and medicine, but is not targeted primarily at nursing staff).
Common Dandelion by Michael Landy, for PRN feature The Lab Report
Ebola pattern by Laura Quick, for a PRN feature on the Ebola crisis, written by a correspondent in West Africa
As we wrote about in our April issue, a creativity in healthcare special, art can have huge benefits in the medical sector - from transforming hospitals to helping improve patient and staff wellbeing - and it's great to see a magazine devoted to exploring the link between art and health further, as well as providing some helpful advice and more positive, uplifting content for nurses; a rare thing in mainstream media, particularly amidst uncertainty over funding cuts and the forthcoming election.
The site so far has some fascinating reads and it will be interesting to see how PRN develops to include original creative projects and audio content.
From the series One Nice Thing, shot by Julia Kennedy for PRN