Hektoen’s Nurses and the Humanities (HNH) program was founded in June 2006 to present programs that demonstrate and encourage the healing power of the arts and the humanities for caregivers and their patients. Programs addressing diverse themes of nursing and the humanities (art, literature, history, philosophy, music, theater, and dance) have various formats, including lectures, workshops, classes, and excursions. The programs are geared towards nurses, caregivers, medical professionals, and nursing students, but are open to the general public.

Currently, the HNH has a membership of 25 nurses and a mailing list of more than 500 supporters who work with the HNH and attend HNH events.  HNH also has its own Advisory Committee and a strategic partnership with the Chicago chapter of the Academy of Medical – Surgical Nurses where the partnership works to advance medical surgical nursing in the city of Chicago.

Our Mission

The Hektoen Institute Nurses and Humanities Advisory Committee provides humanistic, creative and interactive educational opportunities to clinicians. We endeavor to expand imaginative horizons and to explore the arts as a source of healing for the self and for providing compassionate and holistic care to others. Our interactive arts-focused programs offer opportunities to network outside the health care arena and to explore the untapped healing potential of creativity.

Our Vision

The Hektoen Institute Nurses and Humanities Advisory Committee believes nurses need to balance the science of nursing with an appreciation of the arts that offers them new strategies for self-care and that expands their repertoire of resources for holistic caregiving. The Advisory Committee embraces the joy of artistic expression, heightened sensory perception, and exposure to the vast realm of aesthetic possibilities as essential to the art of nursing. For more information: rns@hektoen.org.

Alert – New Nurses and the Humanities event from May 1 – 31, 2023! 


Remembrance & Renewed Hope”


Past Events


ReNewal: A Showcase Event for Nurses’ Art Expressions

Hektoen Nurses and Humanities sponsored a very successful Relaxation and Renewal through the Arts Exhibit at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago April 9 through July 11, 2021.

In order to celebrate the 2020 World Health Organization designated International Year or the Nurse, Nurses’ Month (May), and Florence Nightingale’s Birthday. That designation has been extended to 2021. In addition, it is the 200th birthday of Clara Barton. It was our aim to provide hope and inspiration and a sense of community in this time of uncertainty. Over 100 nurses and nursing students submitted over 150 pieces of visual art, print, prose, photography, poetry, musical performance and crafts. Note that the catalog for the exhibit will remain on this website thru December 2021.


To view the Digital Catalog of all works submitted to the exhibit, please click below:
Exhibit 1 / Exhibit 2 / Exhibit 3 / Exhibit 4

A special thanks to the steering committee for this exhibit: Sandra Gaynor, Geraldine Gorman, Cora Palmer and Mary Ann McDermott. We are grateful to our sponsors who contributed so generously to our endeavor. Sponsorship donations were used for our 2021 Museum Rental, funding the Digital Catalog and free museum admission for nurses and nursing students.

The Hektoen International Journal of Medical Humanities, co-sponsor of our exhibit, invites you to subscribe and/or submit to their free online journal of the medical and health humanities. Articles explore medicine through the lens of art, education, ethics, history, literature, philosophy, and sociology. Associate Editor of the Journal, Anne Jacobson, MD, MPH, has informed us that they will feature Nursing in a section of their upcoming issue and plans to highlight the work of nurses for the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse and invites you to submit. Please visit their Submission Guidelines page for more information

Frida Kahlo Exhibit

Hektoen Nurses and Humanities sponsored a visit to Exhibit July 17th 2021 to the McAninch Arts Center at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art on the campus of the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Best known for self-portraits highlighting themes of identity, politics, sexuality, pain and death, Kahlo channeled her childhood and personal struggles into her art and became an iconic figure and symbol of female empowerment, individual courage and Mexican pride.

July 23 2022 

Sit and sketch  with Sed Henderson       IMSS

August 19, 2022 

“Expressing Ourselves Through the Arts”   Alyssa Saklak   IMSS

October 15, 2022 

Irish Heritage Center 4626 N Knox Ave, Chicago, Illinois, 60630

Mary Ann McDermott, MSN, RN, EdD, FAAN  provided a book review of ” Ireland’s Loss Britain’s Gain Irish Nurses in Britian Nightingale to Millennium.

October 21, 2022 

Sketch with Sed 

 International Museum of Surgical Science 1524 N Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60610

November 2, 2022

Pain: Lessons for our Future- Fireside Chat with Judith A. Paice, PhD, RN

International Museum of Surgical Science 1524 North Lakeshore Dr. Chicago, IL 60610

November 2,  2022- Free, virtual theater opportunity! 

The Nurse Antigone: American Association of Critical-Care Nurses