DiversityNursing Blog

Nurses Are Recycling Plastic Medical Supplies To Create Art

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jun 03, 2019 @ 11:14 AM

mosaic2Two creative Nurses saw the opportunity to not waste plastic medical materials. They each used them to create beautiful works of art for their patient's to enjoy.

Registered Nurse, Beth Beaty, works at Roper Hospital in SC. According to Nurse.org, she first began experimenting with turning supplies into art when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and recuperating at home.

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It took Beaty a year to create her other work of art depicting Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina, using strings from patient belonging bags, a stethoscope, and plastic caps from medications like antibiotics, flu shots, anticoagulants, insulin and morphine.

According to an ABC news article, the painting is dedicated to Dr. Julia Haile, a beloved infectious disease physician who passed away. Dr. Haile seemed to love the idea of the piece and would often ask about it. Beaty said “She was always very encouraging and excited about it. I just thought it was a perfect tribute to her.”

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Beth also told the news outlet, “I think part of what makes this cool is for Nurses, we recognize all of these caps. For other people, it’s just a nice piece of art. Everyone has a different appreciation for it. And I like being able to tell patients that their medicine cap will be used in a painting – it lights up their face and makes such a difference.”

Tilda Shalof was an ICU Nurse at Toronto General Hospital for three decades. When she decided she was ready to retire, she wanted to leave something behind for the hospital.

Shalof had saved up bags of medicine caps, lids, IV tubes and other connectors. It took her a year, but with all of her materials, she created a mosaic measuring 9-feet-by 4-feet. The finished piece contains 10,000 pieces!

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She said, "I hope young doctors and young nurses see this and hopefully it makes them remember that all these little things we do are huge for the patient. Each thing that we did with each little piece of plastic meant so much to the patient. And that's really what this mural represents."

Tilda ultimately decided not to retire. Instead, she made the decision to leave the fast pace and long hours of the ICU and work at the Toronto Western Hospital in their radiology department. Occasionally she’ll go back to the other hospital to visit her art.

Do you have a creative use for recycled hospital materials? Please share it below. We would love to see what our artistic Nurses have made!

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Topics: recycling, art in hospitals, medical supplies

Art In Hospitals Could Improve Patient Satisfaction

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Aug 03, 2018 @ 11:27 AM

97328f63008b3c20084941b6b3a0ec18According to Penn State College of Medicine researchers, patients' perceptions of the hospital they're being treated in may be improved by artwork. This could be a low-cost way to help improve patient satisfaction.

"It is relevant to hospital administrators who are under increasing pressure to improve care quality and the patient experience. People often find medical environments stark and uninviting, and artwork is a way to humanize hospital rooms and perhaps make them feel warmer, more inviting, and less 'medical," said Daniel George, associate professor of medical humanities.

Cleveland Clinic emailed former patients, inviting them to respond to a survey about the health system’s art program. Out of the more than 1,000 respondents that had visited Cleveland Clinic within the previous 12 months, 826 (76 percent) remembered noticing the art collection.

Of the 826 respondents who noticed the art, an average of:

  • 73 percent said it somewhat or significantly improved their mood. Results were even higher among the subset of respondents treated for breast cancer (78 percent), generalized anxiety (81 percent) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (84 percent). Results also were higher the longer the hospital stay. For example, 91 percent of two- and three-day visitors reported that the art improved their mood.
  • 61 percent said it somewhat or significantly reduced their stress. Results were even higher among the subset of respondents treated for cancer (65 percent), generalized anxiety (69 percent) and PTSD (81 percent) — as well as among the subset of two- and three-day visitors (72 percent).
  • 39 percent said it somewhat or significantly improved their comfort or pain level. Results were even higher among the subset of respondents treated for cancer (43 percent), osteoarthritis (47 percent), generalized anxiety (49 percent) and PTSD (54 percent).

fullsizeoutput_1da7According to research done by Stine Maria Louring Nielsen and professor Michael Finbarr Mullins of Aalborg University in Denmark, patients noted that the mere presence of the artworks inspired confidence that the hospital was well cared-for, leading them to expect a high level of care while staying there.

Arts in Medicine is a national and international program that brings healing arts into healthcare systems. One of the oldest programs is at Duke University, said visiting artist Elizabeth Garlington, which made bringing the program to Haywood, a Duke LifePoint hospital, a logical extension.

Ken Picou, a physical therapist assistant at the hospital, said the artwork is already serving its purpose. “My patients walked farther today because they wanted to see the pictures,” he said. “One patient walked twice as far to see more.”

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“A Nurse can document how far a patient walked if they say which picture they reached because they know it is 32 feet from pod to pod,” Garlington said. “For patients with dementia, their long-term memories can be triggered by seeing the photo of Looking Glass Falls where they may have once gone hiking or quilts that prompt someone to remember a quilt they once made.”

Garlington noted the images were beneficial to Nurses as well. "In handling patients this sick, there is compassion fatigue for the Nurses who are dealing with trauma every day," she said. "That's why we choose healing images, water, nature and scenes in Western North Carolina to bring a calmness."

Susan Mahoney, the Chief Nursing Officer at Haywood Regional Medical Center, said "This has been a minimal investment with a big impact."

Artwork in hospitals can be extremely beneficial in many ways. We hope to see more art programs and hospitals teaming up in the future to provide a more therapeutic environment for patients.

What is your work environment like? Is there uplifting artwork where you work? If so, please share! 

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Topics: patient satisfaction, art in hospitals

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