Dem bones gonna rise again

We are IU Health

July 08, 2019

Tori Brown had her heart set on an art career but when she failed a class at Herron School of Art & Design, she switched to radiology.

The assignment for the visual communications class was to draw a masterpiece. So Tori Brown worked diligently creating a drawing of bones. It was her second year in art school and her instructor failed her.

“It was the first class in my life I’ve ever failed,” said Brown. “I decided right then that this wasn’t for me.”

But she maintained her interest in the bone structure and human anatomy and redirected her career path toward the field of medicine. She started working as a receptionist at IU Health in 2015 and cross-trained in CT and x-ray. She completed her degree in x-ray technology two years ago and has pursued her early interests in art to distract patients during procedures.

She’s known for comical characters and humorous sayings: A picture of a bone with the caption “ I hope you find this humerus,” and a sketch of two skeletons with the caption “Don’t worry I’ve got your back.”

Some of her drawings include seasonal greetings: “Have a femury Christmasy and a hippy New Year,” and “I want tibia your Valentine.”

“I am the type of drawer I like to have something to reference so I draw and pull some quotes from Pinterest,” said Brown. “It’s a kind of cartooning that I think helps ease the nerves of patients. In fluoroscopy we do exams that are often uncomfortable – feeding tubes, upper G.I., barium swallows, enemas – I want to give them something to look at to distract them and help ease their mind,” said Brown.

What does she like best about her career? “No patient is the same. Everyone has a different story,” said Brown. “When they are here and they are several hours from home I want them to feel safe. I’ve had lunch with some of my patients and brought them blankets and other things to make them comfortable. It’s so rewarding to see patients getting better and doing something that’s going to help them.”

And what would she say to that art teacher? “I’d say ‘thank you’ because I don’t think I’d be here if I hadn’t failed that class. It’s an honor to work for IU Health. This is home.”

More about Brown:

  • She is the daughter of Heather Bussell and Joseph Brown. She has a younger sister Lauren Brown who is a NICU nurse.
  • She recently got engaged to Dustin Rainey. His twin sister Kayley Rainey is Brown’s best friend and works at IU Health North.

-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

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