Art Offers an Outlet for Creation and Healing
by Gina Colaizzo
Nursing school can be stressful. To deal with stress, I turn to my paintbrush. I’m inspired by my love of artistic creativity and mesmerized by the beauty of scientific structures viewed through the microscope. Upon leaving a research lab, I have always found a way to incorporate and amplify these images into my artwork. Doing so not only allows me to share the artistic beauty of science with others, it also serves as a healthy coping mechanism and an emotional outlet when I’m stressed.
With time and tussle, I began compiling some of my illustrations and thoughts into an organized format. As my literary prose transformed into rhythmic verse, my passion for children and healthy living resulted in the creation of How to Be a Winner for Dinner. This children’s book takes the reader on a journey with a young boy whose mission is to make his mother’s dinner vegetables taste better so that he can enjoy eating them and follow his doctor’s recommended daily diet.
Understanding how I have personally benefited from the artistic process, I want to share my experience and show others how artistic expression can in fact be therapeutic. This is particularly true for those who are confined to the hospital setting and dealing with long-term illnesses. In 1977, Dr. George L. Engel proposed the biopsychosocial model; the theory proposes that psychological and social aspects of life influence wellness and disease to the same effect that biological factors do. I found my own experiences in artistic creations and the associated psychological benefits to be in full support of this theory.
My book allows me to send a positive message about healthy diet to the pediatric population and also demonstrates how stress can manifest into positive outcomes if it is dealt with in a constructive and productive manner. As I continue through my career, I hope to produce a series of children’s books to integrate the creative process of art as a form of holistic therapy within my nursing practice.
Read more about Gina’s passion for art and nursing on her blog: www.nursing.jhu.edu/ginablog.