Victory Primary School student Philip Lawm checks out his class's art panels and gets his blood pressure checked in the paediatric room of Nelson Hospital’s ED. Photo: Kate Russell.

Demystifying the hospital experience

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Visits to the paediatric room at Nelson Hospital’s emergency department (ED) can be scary for children, but new artwork panels created by Victory Primary School students is hoping to fix that.

The panels were installed last week, and some the students were given the chance to visit ED to check them out and try out some of the hospital equipment.

“Some children come into the hospital and they’re terrified – especially some of the immigrant children,” says registered nurse Anne Geange, who coordinated the project.

“To go to a hospital is scary and anyone in a uniform is quite threatening.”

She says the art panels, which depict the Victory community gardens and the Matariki lantern parade on the Railway Reserve, act as a welcome distraction.

“The distraction is the best thing, especially if they are in pain. If you can take their mind off it, it’s a huge help. It’s artwork for kids, by kids.

“It’s also very stressful for parents, so it also helps them to feel more comfortable.”

The MDF panels were donated by Mitre 10 Mega Nelson while Resene donated all the paint.

The students also got to try out oxygen tubing and masks, a ventolin spacer and get dressings on Monday when they visited to “normalise” the experience.

Anne says some of the kids had visited the hospital before, but for a few it was a new experience.

“We’re trying to show them that we’re not this scary place where scary things are done to you.”