The new pediatric unit in MidHudson Regional Hospital (MHRH) just got a little friendlier thanks to Elaine Suderio-Tirone, assistant professor of Nursing at Mount Saint Mary College, and her family.
Suderio-Tirone, her daughter Viviane, and her brother Elizar (an RN) teamed up recently to paint murals in the MHRH pediatric unit, which is an extension of Maria Fareri Children’s Health Services. Since the hospital is based in the beautiful Hudson Valley, they used a fun and familiar theme: farming.
“When kids are sick, it is hard for them to adjust in a new environment,” explained Suderio-Tirone. “Having something cheerful on the wall or anything that helps divert their attention makes a lot of difference.”
It only took Suderio-Tirone and her family three days to complete the majority of the artwork. After all, they already had some experience in mural painting: Years ago, Suderio-Tirone and her then three-year-old daughter painted similar murals in the pediatrics unit of Vassar Brothers Medical Center.
At the time and for many years afterwards, Suderio-Tirone worked as a nurse in the Vassar pediatric unit. It wasn’t the only art project that she and her daughter worked on during her time at Vassar.
“Through the years, my daughter and I would paint the glass windows on holidays depending on the occasion,” Suderio-Tirone. “It helps cheer up sick children and gives color to the unit.”
Vassar Brothers Medical Center converted their pediatrics unit to accommodate COVID-19 patients in March, so Suderio-Tirone decided to move on.
“I was sad to leave the [old] mural behind, but happy to have been given the task again to paint the mural in the new pediatric unit in MHRH,” said Suderio-Tirone. “When I was hired, the executives knew that I painted the one in Vassar and appointed me to be the muralist. But this time, my daughter is the lead muralist.”
Viviane is now a senior in high school now and is looking to attend college for art when she graduates.
This isn’t the first time that Suderio-Tirone has recruited her family to help with a service project. Inspired by news stories detailing the shortage of personal protection equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, Suderio-Tirone, her brother, and her sister-in-law sewed and donated more than 3,000 masks.
In addition to long shifts each week treating COVID-19 patients at a local hospital, a typical day for Suderio-Tirone and her family was to sew from 7 a.m. up to 3 a.m. the following day. They kept this grueling pace up for weeks.
Suderio-Tirone was named one of the area’s COVID Healthcare Heroes by the Dutchess County Medical Society in July, in recognition of her selfless work to save lives.