After a successful Relaxation Room Road Show for Nurses’ Week, put on by Claramae Weber and myself, I’m pleased to report that wellness at AHS is finally reaching the bedside nurses at Highland Hospital!
But first, let me back up and give credit where credit is due.
Over a year ago, Claramae Weber — the proprietor of Clarity’s Care Corner right here on this blog — took the initiative to set up a weekly Relaxation Room in the Emergency Department at Highland Hospital. With her director’s permission, Claramae volunteered to set up and take down the space once a week, offering a beautiful, peaceful experience in a darkened conference room filled with the aroma of lavender, the gentle sounds and hypnotic light of her own fancy essential oil diffuser (which she brings from home every week) and a colorful tablecloth to draw your attention toward the center of the room.
She visits the room throughout the day to check in, and even to help the folks on her team find their center and relax, even if just for a minute or two, in the midst of a busy ER. Her work in the ER has been so powerful that Shareen Cronin, Director of Nursing, Critical Care Services, invited Claramae and me to bring the Relaxation Room experience to each of the nursing teams at Highland Hospital over the course of Nurses’ Week. We did just that — Claramae even stretched to reach the night shift staff on her own over the weekend — and the rooms and our services were received with open arms and open minds by the nursing staff throughout the hospital.
Some of the nurses we encountered were eager to sit in silence, to relax in the calming environment we created, to allow us to walk them through a short meditation that brought them into a space they don’t usually occupy while on the clock. Others shared their experiences working at Highland. Some cited the challenges they faced, but every one of them expressed their dedication to their patients and their love for what they do. It was an amazing opportunity to meet the people who keep our organization running, the ones who serve the patients on the front lines of this health system and work tirelessly for the community we serve. I shared a bit about my own experience here, recognizing that I have so much to learn about gratitude, and that the nurses I met over the course of Nurses Week really changed the way I approach each day.
Claramae focused a lot of what she shared with the nursing staff on the last post she wrote, Sunrise to Sunset. We shared as a group how we start and end each day, and so many of the nurses said that they wake up each morning with a prayer of gratitude. I found this practice to be truly inspiring, and I realized that to be a successful nurse, such a vital, affirming practice is necessary, at least to some degree.
From Road Show to Relaxation Rooms
Part of our mission in bringing this Road Show to the bedside nurses was to encourage them to start their own permanent weekly Relaxation Rooms on their respective floors. A number of nurses and nurse leaders showed interest in leading the charge of creating a consistent weekly space for their teams to relax during their shifts. It’s my hope that over the course of this year and next, Relaxation Rooms will become the norm throughout AHS hospital sites. If you’d like to bring a relaxation room to your department, please reach out to me and Claramae and I can help walk you through how to do it.