Nurses & the Humanities 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.

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:

ReNewal: A Showcase Event
for Nurses’ Art Expressions

Hektoen Nurses and Humanities and the International Museum of Surgical Science are delighted to announce the newly rescheduled exhibit: Nurses’ Relaxation and Renewal through the Arts, to April 9 through July 11, 2021. Nurses who submitted work to the original showcase will participate with the same pieces originally submitted.

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. Guest Speakers related to the arts and humanities as well as workshops and conversations among nurse artists will be scheduled. It is rumored that Florence Nightingale has been seen dusting the window sills and cleaning the corners of cobwebs and may appear to grace the exhibit. We hope to provide 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. We are so thankful for all nurses for their dedication to patients and the profession. Your visit to the Museum will be a wonderful way to honor these heroes and heroines and their creativity.


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

The International Museum of Surgical Science is located at 1524 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. See the Museum website: for COVID precautions, parking information, etc. Through the generous donation of several of our sponsors, note that all nurses and nursing students will be admitted free of charge.

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 will be 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 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

Please save the date for our scheduled event viewing the Frida Kahlo Exhibit at 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.

Nurses & the Humanities has a pre-paid group reservation for 20 on Saturday, July 17, 2021, at 10:15am for the exhibit’s timed admission at the cost of $20.00. Please register for this event at via email at