‘Healing Art’ Provides A Splash of Cheer at UPMC Passavant

By: Jason Walker

Stay-at-home orders have given Sam Chilcote an opportunity to rediscover a talent he’s using to brighten the mood of his UPMC Passavant colleagues.

Sam’s paintings are hanging in the employee and main entrances at UPMC Passavant−McCandless. His latest creation is a male nurse superhero to go along with the female nurse superhero he previously painted. Other work​s include a heart, fish aquarium and flowers.

After securing a job at UPMC Passavant as an orthopaedic patient care tech almost two years ago, Sam moved from the Dubois area to Pittsburgh. That is when he got back into his high school hobby of acrylic painting, and the increased downtime has allowed him to dive headfirst into the craft.

When Susan Hoolahan, president, UPMC Passavant, visited his unit in March to talk about COVID-19, Sam realized how serious the situation was becoming and he wanted to do something to uplift his colleagues. He reached out to Susan to see if it would be possible for some of his art to be displayed throughout the hospital. Susan was more than happy to accept the paintings, telling Sam, “It made my day.”

“I just wanted to do something cheery, and I hope people will be smiling when they see them,” Sam said of his paintings. “I like to make people smile and they need to smile now more than ever.”

Sam is known as the “cheer meister” in his department and he has handed out paintings to some of his colleagues. He also dresses up during each holiday.

Shannon Seitz, M.S.N., R.N., P.C.C.N., unit director, 5PAV, said Sam has the unique ability to read the emotions of his patients as well as his co-workers. “His ability to inspire happiness and motivation in others is reflective in our patient experience as well as in our culture on 5 PAV,” Shannon said. She is proud of Sam for maintaining a positive attitude and using his talents to make people happy. “He has provided an innovative way to reassure us that we are all one great team here to support our patients and each other.”

In turn, Sam said he is proud of his colleagues for their great work during this difficult situation, and he offered up some inspirational words. “This is going to pass, just stay smiling and continue to take care of our patients.”