Heeding early warnings about a possible influx of COVID-19 patients, the staff at Marian Regional Medical Center began preparing the Santa Maria hospital in early March.
The focus was on patient care until Sarah Phillips, a critical care unit clinical educator, realized that the harried staff would probably need attention, too.
“There were two waiting areas near the critical care unit that would not be used, so I decided to transform them into Relaxation Rooms for fellow staff to provide a space of respite and quiet during these considerably stressful times,” said Mrs. Phillips.
”I thought my colleagues would appreciate having a place they could retreat to, and I wanted to be able to help in any way I could. Everyone is feeling overwhelmed, and if I could provide a source of peace for these amazing nurses and respiratory therapists, I was happy to do so.”
She put out a request on Facebook for family and friends to donate or loan items to make the rooms inviting.
“There was a huge response. It was beautiful,” said Mrs. Phillips, who spent two days creating the rooms, which are quiet with low light, and include greenery, aromatherapy items from Doterra, photographic prints of scenes along the coast, yoga mats, a sound machine with relaxing white noise, massage chairs, and inspirational cards, books and quotes.
For one of the rooms, she gathered plants from around the hospital to create a lush outdoor environment.
“I wanted it to feel like they were enjoying nature and fresh air,” said Mrs. Phillips.
If someone wants to be alone for a time, they can place an “In Use” sign on the handle of one of the doors.
The rooms have gotten significant use since being created.
“The staff absolutely love it, and I love seeing them after they have been in the rooms. They seem to have renewed energy,” said Mrs. Phillips. “I designed the rooms to offer a different environment for the staff to step out of the chaos and anxiety created by this pandemic into a place of peace and tranquility.
“It helps shift their perspective from a stressful time, where they are feeling overwhelmed to a calming state. It allows them to take a breath.”
For more about Marian Regional Medical Center, go to www.dignityhealth.org.