Our workplace doesn’t always lend to creating a mindful healing environment. And Hospitals often lack the administrative support and money for building one. It’s not as if one nurse can change a rooted organizational attitude, right?
Actually, Judith Connor would beg to differ. Connor is a clinical matron for Cardiothoracic services at South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust. Throughout their daily duties her fellow nurses found that patients’ nutrition was suffering because of their hospital’s mealtime culture.
In response, Ms Connor championed implementing three principles that encourage patients to eat and drink properly during their hospital stay: protected mealtimes, assisted feeding and a new meal service. This became a success story for the patients, staff and hospital.
Ms Connor’s program mirrored the spirit of the checklist developed by the Institute for Health Care Improvement for improving healing environments. Still, many other nurses and caregivers are limited in implementing their recommendations. Human and material resources are stretched thin in hospitals and clinics around the nation as it is, and no nurse can build a private patient room, or provide wide doors to patients’ bathrooms by him or her self.
Yet, what we learn from Connor’s actions is that as the most immediate contact the patient has when he is under our care, we can make a significant impact focusing on the finer details.
Ask relatives to bring in music that the in-patient enjoys. Be sensitive to cultural practices the patient observes and pass that information to fellow staffers.
When possible, give the patient choices (in lighting, privacy and sound). And always remember the delicate balance between pain-alleviating humor and insensitivity.
Share with us, what are small ways in which you take control of the healing environment and make it more pleasant for the patient, and for yourself? Do you remember a small act of kindness that warmed your heart when a person close to you was taken care of by a nurse or caregiver? Small gestures go a long way.
Co-Founder, Director of International Communications | + posts
Barbara Dossey, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, HWNC-BC, is an internationally recognized integrative, holistic nursing pioneer, a nurse theorist (Theory of Integral Nursing; co-author, Theory of Integrative Nurse Coaching), and Florence Nightingale Scholar. She is Co-Director, International Nurse Coach Association (INCA) and Core Faculty, Integrative Nurse Coach™ Certificate Program (INCCP), Miami, Florida; International Co-Director, Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH); and Director of Holistic Nursing Consultants (HNC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has authored or co-authored 25 books including Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice (7th ed., 2016); Nurse Coaching: Integrative Approaches for Health and Wellbeing (2015); The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching: The Provider’s Guide for Coaching Scope and Competencies (2013); Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer (2010, Commemorative Edition). She is a founding member of the American Holistic Nurses Association and Holistic Nurse of the Year. She is an 11-time recipient of the prestigious American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award, and has received many other awards. Barbara is also on the ANA’s Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation™ Grand Challenge Advisory Board.
As Co-Founder of the International Nurse Coach Association for over a decade, Susan has been teaching and developing coaching program and currently through the Integrative Nurse Coach™ Academy. She is Board Certified in Health and Wellness Coaching, Holistic Nursing, and Clinical Nutrition. Susan has authored several chapters on Nutrition and Environmental Health for Holistic Nursing, Integrative Nursing, and Nurse Leadership textbooks.
She has co-authored Nurse Coaching and Self-Assessment chapters in; Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice, 7th edition (2015-2020) and is co-author of the award winning book (ANA Gold Seal, 2015) Nurse Coaching: Integrative Approaches for Health and Wellbeing (2015) and The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching, an ANA Publication (2013), that led the way to establishing the standards for practice in the emerging Nurse Coach role. For the past 20 years, she has been the Nurse Coach and Nutrition consultant for Special Immunology Services at Mercy Hospital in Miami and is currently the Director of Nurse Coaching at Rezilir Health in Hollywood, Florida.
Susan continues to integrate lifestyle health and wellness education into diverse communities, bringing her expertise and passion as a nurse, clinical nutritionist, and medical anthropologist. She has developed and implemented integrative health initiatives for diverse community organizations including the Yellow Courtyard, Integrative Health Symposium, Urban Zen, New York Open Center, The Lower East Side Girls Club, Kripalu, Omega Institute, and the University of Miami and Florida Atlantic University.
As a concerned global citizen, Susan is the founder and education director of the Earthrose Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to environmental health education and advocacy. She maintains a private practice as an Integrative Nurse Coach™ with a focus on nutrition and the environment.