Rosemary (Rosie) Smith, B.S.N.
Pain Management Center
When Rosie Smith, a registered nurse, joined Overlook nine years ago, her background was primarily in critical care. Then, in 2007, she had an opportunity to focus her energies on something she had seen all too much of throughout her career – pain. Rosie, along with Medical Director Andrew Kaufman, M.D. and a team of pain management experts opened Overlook’s Pain Management Center in the newly built Medical Arts Center (MAC) II.
“From the very beginning, we strived to create an atmosphere that was more personal, home-like, warm and friendly for people living with chronic pain,” says Rosie, board-certified in pain management and earning an advanced nurse practitioner degree.
The team accomplished that and more.
Today, Overlook’s Pain Management Center is a multidisciplinary outpatient facility that strives to minimize pain in a minimally invasive manner. It is staffed by nationally-recognized pain management experts who diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions, from post-operative pain, to back and neck pain, to cancer pain. Treatments include pain management, interventional procedures, nutritional counseling, neurology, podiatry, behavioral health and integrative medicine procedures such as massage and acupuncture.
Since the Center’s creation, the team also learned something from the patients they treat – that sometimes art imitates life.
“We discovered that art therapy sessions were a creative outlet that enabled pain sufferers to express their feelings in ways they couldn’t convey in words,” remarks Rosie. “With the advice of Maria Lupo, coordinator of Mission Development, we created the Paint Your Pain program.”
Now in its fourth year, the program invites patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals in the community to submit original works of art that convey their experiences with pain – in particular, what it feels like to suffer from pain and what it feels like when it is gone. A catalog of the submitted artwork is published and an exhibition opening is held annually. Throughout the year, the artwork is on display in the hallway of the Pain Management Center.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then patients at Overlook’s Pain Management Center are speaking volumes about living with pain. Since the program’s inception, more than 100 patients have submitted artwork for the exhibition. Paint your Pain also won a prestigious award at an annual meeting of the American Society of Pain Management and now serves as a model program for other hospitals.
“Pain can make people feel isolated and misunderstood,” observes Rosie, “but on the night of the exhibit opening, when everyone comes together, they realize they are not alone. They have a voice, and they are taken seriously.”
For more information about Overlook Medical Center’s Pain Management Center, call 908-522-6112.