Baptist Health-Fort Smith Opens Remodeled Pediatric Unit Thanks to Donation

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Baptist Health-Fort Smith recently opened a newly remodeled pediatric unit thanks to the creativity of a local nurse and a donation from the Baptist Health-Fort Smith Auxiliary.

The auxiliary donated $25,000 to go toward purchasing artwork and new furniture for the unit’s playroom, waiting room and patient rooms, which are now located on the second floor.

“The auxiliary has always been able to fund the free valet service at the hospital, but with COVID-19 we’ve had to temporarily suspend that service,” said Alice Swaim, auxiliary president. “We saw this time as an opportunity to support the hospital and its patients in other ways. When the opportunity to create this beautiful space came up, we were excited to be a part of it.”

The unit now features chairs, recliners and couches in bright shades of green and blue, as well as a marine life mural by Leah Agent, a registered nurse who has worked in labor and delivery for the last five years. Various types of whales, tropical fish, jelly fish, an octopus, coral and anemones fill a wall of the waiting room. She named the mural “Hattie’s Fish” after her daughter. Agent is a Sallisaw native whose artistic talent was noticed at a young age by her fourth-grade teacher Sherree Reid.

“I began taking art classes with Wakie Trudeau, a local artist from Sallisaw,” Agent said. “She was a great teacher and is still very special to me.”

Agent learned from Trudeau through her senior year of high school and continued to study art in college. She earned a degree in graphic design from Northeastern State University and later chose to go back to school to study nursing. Agent graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Despite the career change, she still paints in her free time.

This isn’t the first mural Agent has had a hand in. In addition to working on murals in college, she was also commissioned last year to paint a 12-foot-by-20-foot mural of the old Sallisaw bank in a pocket park in the city’s downtown. Agent said she had a great time working on the mural and visiting with staff members who stopped by the see the progress. She hopes it continues to make people who work and visit the area happy.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous donation of the Baptist Health-Fort Smith Auxiliary which helped us provide a kid friendly environment for the Pediatric patients we serve and for Leah, who took the time to create such a beautiful piece of artwork. She is so gifted and we are very proud of her,” said Kristin Johnson, BSN, RN, director of Women’s and Children’s department at Baptist Health-Fort Smith.


For nearly 100 years, Baptist Health has delivered all our best in health care through Christian compassion and innovative services. Baptist Health is Arkansas’ most comprehensive health care organization with more than 250 points of access that include 11 hospitals; urgent care centers; a senior living community; over 100 primary and specialty care clinics; a college with studies in nursing and allied health; a graduate residency program; and access to virtual care anytime, anywhere. It is also the largest private not-for-profit health care organization based in Arkansas, providing care through the support of approximately 11,000 employees, groundbreaking treatments, renowned physicians and community outreach programs. For more information about Baptist Health, visit, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or download the myBaptistHealth app. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.