Jascha Morton

September 27, 2023
A photo of Jascha Morton
Jascha Morton. Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon for UCHealth.

Nurse bought art supplies, urged patient to paint after devastating hit-and-run accident

Jascha Morton noticed a beautiful painting on the wall in a patient’s hospital room.

The young man had suffered severe injuries after a hit-and-run accident. He was walking on a sidewalk in Aurora when a car plowed into him. In addition to facing long-term physical challenges, the man had no stable home to return to once he recovered.

Jascha is a nurse in a medical health services unit at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

She loves working in the unit because each day is different. Nurses like Jascha take care of a variety of complex patients, including those dealing with heartbreaking injuries and substance use disorder.

“We’re where they send people who have a lot of challenges,” she said. “We do a little bit of everything.”

Jascha noticed that her patient was feeling hopeless, so she started talking with him about art.

“I realized that he was very talented and had a real love for painting before the accident,” she said.

So, on her own time and with her own money, she purchased art supplies for the man and brought back a big easel, some canvases, paint and brushes.

“Painting was the one thing he could do to escape his worries and sadness,” Jascha said. “I decided that art could benefit him emotionally and mentally. He needed his own art supplies, not just borrowed items.”

The man was deeply touch by Jascha’s gift and started doing beautiful paintings that dazzled all of his caregivers.

Among those who admired the patient’s art was chaplain, Megan Worthman, who also had been working to support the man.

Worthman saluted Jascha for her kindness and personalized attention to her patient.

“Jascha found a way to connect with his humanity. She was instrumental in shifting his trust for his nursing team and shifted his outlook for the future,” Worthman said of Jascha. “She’s a nurse who cares about the whole person and is able to use compassion to change lives for the better.”

The man told Worthman that he happened to receive the art supplies around the time of his birthday.

“I was really thinking that my birthday was not going to be special this year. But this gift has given me hope that people actually care about me,” the patient told Worthman.

Jascha had a different career before she recently shifted to nursing.

She used to run swimming pools and lead swim teams.

She always has loved working with people and now uses her deep emotional intelligence to support patients.

“I like to give. That is how I express my appreciation for people and show them I care about their well-being,” Jascha said. “Seeing my patient progress brought me a great sense of fulfillment.”

She’s not an artist herself but enjoys looking at beautiful art. And when she travels, she loves finding a local artist and bringing home a piece of art that reminds her of places she has visited. It makes her happy to think back on a fun trip.

Connecting deeply with a patient gives Jascha a similar feeling of joy.

“We work with patients who are experiencing a lot of challenges. When you do the best you can possibly do, and you connect with a patient, it makes you really happy,” she said.

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About the author

Katie Kerwin McCrimmon is a proud Coloradan. She attended Colorado College thanks to a merit scholarship from the Boettcher Foundation and worked as a park ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park during summers in college.

Katie is a dedicated storyteller who loves getting to know UCHealth patients and providers and sharing their inspiring stories.

Katie spent years working as an award-winning journalist at the Rocky Mountain News and at an online health policy news site before joining UCHealth in 2017.

Katie and her husband, Cyrus — a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer — have three adult children and love spending time in the Colorado mountains and traveling around the world.