Finding creativity during a public health crisis

Jeffrey Reinhard with one of his creations

What many people, even those who have had three COVID-19 vaccinations, may not know, is that the vials these vaccines come in are topped with round, colourful lids. The lids help to indicate the contents of the vial in a quick and efficient way. They are helpful, but they are also a beautiful material just begging to be upcycled once they’ve served their original purpose.

For Jeffrey Reinhart, RN, Manager, Primary Care at Sherbourne Health, the interest in these small discs started early. “Even when I was just beginning my career as a nurse, I had such a fascination with these little pieces of round matte plastic. Working at Sherbourne Health’s vaccination clinic at the Wellesley Community Centre meant I suddenly had access to a huge number of these caps. I knew I wanted to do something creative with them almost as soon as the clinics got off the ground.”

Photo of a tree swallow in the trees

Like many healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jeffrey found himself working harder than he ever had, experiencing the same exhaustion, stress and worry that so many of us have felt during the past few years of dealing with these challenges. And like so many of us, Jeffrey dug deeper into a burgeoning hobby to keep himself grounded when not managing the vaccination clinic or administering vaccinations – his was bird watching. “I found that connecting with nature was incredibly important to me–especially at the beginning of the pandemic. Seeing birds in their habitat allowed me to recognize that nature just keeps going, and that this too would pass,” says Jeffrey.

With Jeffrey’s renewed interest in these feathered friends and ready access to materials that can be re-used to make art, a perfect combination formed that saw him jump at the opportunity to use these materials in a creative way. Jeffrey started with adapting a photo of a yellow-rumped warbler, the first in what would become a series of images that would offer an artistic outlet and more.

“In addition to being a creative outlet, these artworks also represent a way to mark the passage of time with our vaccination roll out and a way to visualize the huge number of vaccinations that Sherbourne has been involved in,” says Jeffrey. To date, Sherbourne has delivered more than 45,000 vaccinations in our St. James Town clinic, and we’ve worked hard to reach some of the most vulnerable people in the city.

“The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but it’s nice to see something beautiful come out of it. It’s been great to have the large hummingbird picture in our vaccination clinic to share with my colleagues and it’s become a conversation piece with people coming to get their shot,” adds Jeffrey.

If you are still looking for a COVID-19 vaccination, find out more information about our clinic here.

photo of a tree swallow, above, by Jeffrey Reinhart.

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