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Published on January 20, 2021

Artist/Nurse Leaves Mark at Cone Health

Her art will help adoptions get off to a better start.


Cone Health Women's & Children's Center at Moses Cone Hospital has long used a "silent signal" among staff to indicate special patient circumstances. For instance, a white ro​​se indicates the family has experienced a loss. Now, a teddy bear with a special triangle on the bear's foot will alerts staff of an adoption.Nichole Saia holding bear painting

A former Cone Health nurse, who is also a talented artist, donated her original watercolor pieces as a lasting legacy to her Cone Health career and her own family. 

Nicole Saia, RN, says she was "raised at Cone" because she was born at the former Women's Hospital, shadowed nurses there when she was in high school, completed her clinicals with Cone Health and spent her early career as a bedside nurse at the new Women's & Children's Center at Moses Cone Hospital. It's a fitting extension of her family and gifting her original adoption-related artwork to Cone Health has a personal family thumbprint as well.

Saia's younger brother was adopted. Saia was 6 years old when Rusty was brought home from Russia. Saia and her 8-year-old sister and 10-year-old brother say there was never any jealously over the attention he received in their household. "He was our baby, too," says Saia.

So the painting nurse created the Cone Health adoption artwork with a tribute to her own adoption story. The bear has the universal adoption symbol on its foot and carries a red tag blanket, just like her little brother had "until an embarrassingly old age," she says.

Saia has always known she wanted to be a nurse, she says, and has always enjoyed all types of art. In fact, she was commissioned to paint a mural on her high school gymnasium's wall!

"It makes me sad to leave Cone Health," she says. Saia's last day was Jan. 13. She leaves for London in February to serve as a nurse and support Christian mission efforts – leaving another lasting thumbprint no doubt.