A clinical nurse coordinator is using art to spread major cheer to her young patients.
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Ly Truong
Credit: Courtesy of St. David's Children's Hospital

The pediatric intensive care unit of St. David's Children's Hospital in Austin, Texas, can be a scary place for young patients who are battling health conditions. Ly Truong is working to make their days a little brighter, not only through her work as a clinical nurse coordinator, but through her talent as an artist. 

"Drawing has always been therapeutic for me," Truong told Southern Living. It's helped me slow down when I've had a hard day at work and it creates a fun outlet for me to be creative." 

During the pandemic, Ly began painting colorful illustrations and pictures on the windows of her patients' rooms. Using paint and chalk markers, she transformed the normally drab hospital windows into vibrant canvases displaying some of her patients' favorite characters from TV, movies, and books.  

Patient requests have included Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, minions from Despicable MePAW Patrol puppies, and Sesame Street characters. 

Truong loves seeing the look on her patients' faces when they wake up and see their new décor and constant companions.

"I hope for my patients, when they get a chance to see me draw (because I work nights and they are sometimes asleep), it inspires them to be creative and fun," she said. "Or it at least reminds them that even in the hospital there can be a little bit of fun." 

She said her art is also about giving patients back some of the freedom they lose when coming to a hospital. 

"I think it's nice for kids to have a choice when they're in the hospital," she told KVUE. "They don't have a lot of choice about what they get to do, or they have to take all these medicines that they never had before, or they're stuck in their room because they're contagious. So, it's really nice that they get to choose what characters go on the windows or choose what colors the characters are."

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Truong says she plans to keep spreading cheer with her illustrations and is working with St. David's on a plan to display her work on a larger scale via a hospital mural.

We've said it once, and we'll say it again: Nurses are an absolute godsend!