Walt Whitman 8th grade student decorates ceiling tiles for Inova Mount Vernon’s pediatric ER


With her eye on her Girl Scout Silver Award, 8th grade student, Catherine Stankewick, approached Inova Mount Vernon Hospital with plans to beautify its pediatric section of its emergency room, or the Veatch Family Emergency Department. The result was much more special than the award.

Stankewick started working with Courtney Elliott, clinical director of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital’s Emergency Department, in October to prepare presentations for the hospital. 

“With her excellent work, her behind the scenes due diligence; really being able to foster our service goal of excellent care all the time, there was no option but to move forward,” said Elliott.  

Stankewick painted 17 ceiling tiles for the space. The tiles are a tool for nurses as they’re performing procedures — they provide distraction and comfort for patients who may be afraid. 

The 8th grader also canvassed elementary school students to gauge what they wanted to see. Stankewick reports the most common choices were sunsets and rainbows.  

 Inova Mount Vernon wanted the project completed by 2019, as it was starting to brand its pediatric ER. The pediatric section opened in 2016 as part of the Veatch Family Emergency Department for Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. The Veatch family donated $2 million to Inova and challenged the community to match it.    

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