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Jessica Sienkiewicz Goes Back to the Drawing Board to Care for Her Patients

Clinical Assistant uses artistic talents to improve patient experience

Jessica Sienkiewicz, Clinical Assistant, is part of the team that provides care to thousands of patients who come through the doors of the Emergency Department (ED) each year.  Using the tools of her trade - stretchers, thermometers, blood pressure and EKG machines, along with her skills and compassion, she strives to provide both quality care and an exceptional patient experience to those who turn to the ED in their time of need.

But it may with a paint brush and her talent as an artist that she makes the biggest mark.

Jessica’s art has helped to transform two Emergency Department treatment rooms, one in the main ED and the other in Fast Track into something extraordinary.  And, while both rooms were painted with children in mind, anyone who enjoys a bit of whimsy will be touched by this artist’s work.

“It all started when a mom, who was not happy with having to keep her child entertained while she waited for care, spoke up to our leadership. We decided that we would create a room for kids – a place that would include some toys, games, stuff like that,” she said.   

“I used to draw on a communication board for staff and people liked it so when this project came up, they asked if I would paint so I decided I would,” she explained  Most of Jessica’s artwork has been in wood and bronze sculpture and she love’s working in oil pastels. She had not done a lot painting before the project began.

The room renovation was the perfect opportunity to meld both her passions.  Jessica holds a bachelor’s of arts degree from SUNY Plattsburgh and she’s been working in health care since 2006. She was first a phlebotomist for the North Country Regional Blood Donor Center, a CVPH program and then in 2009, she joined the Emergency Department at a clinical assistant.

She believes that incorporating more art in the health care setting makes sense as it supports the organization’s commitment to providing great care to patients and supporting employees.  “Art in health care facilities has been shown to soothe patients and staff. It reduces pain and stress and produces a sense of calm,” she explained. 

Room 16 in the main Emergency Department was the first room the team tackled. It features an Adirondack theme complete with a lake, birds, mountains and trees.  Wooden toys created by another local artist were donated along with toys from a local mothers’ group. A video game console and other electronics were donated by CVPH employees.  It took some time to complete, as Jessica painted when she could, but the team was pleased with the results and they asked her do another room – this time in Fast Track. 

There she offers patients and their families a view of life on the farm, complete with a napping cat and some mice helping themselves to an apple core lunch.  Patients in that room are looking through barn windows at pastures and fields and there are toys and games to help pass the time   

The artwork in both rooms includes carefully hidden hearts. 

 The reviews of her work from patients and staff have been outstanding. “One physician told me it made our work area seem more human. It was the best compliment I have ever received about my art.”

 “I think the true purpose of art is to help take your mind somewhere else; it gives us the ability and the opportunity to be in another place,” Jessica explained. I tried to offer that, even it is just for a little while,” she explained.