by Elizabeth Heubeck
Everyone needs a little time to get away. Psychiatric nurses, with their stressful patient caseloads, may need it more than most. Until recently, they had nowhere to go. Now, they have the relaxation room.
Pushing through an industrial-looking, unassuming door located just off a stretch of psychiatry unit hallway, nurses are greeted with dim lighting and soft paint colors in the main room, tastefully decorated and outfitted with two leather reclining couches and a matching pair of leather reclining chairs. A family-sized dining room rounds out the space. An adjacent kitchenette holds a café-style table for four, and an alcove with desktop computer and Internet access creates a work station.
With the room’s lights low, feet up high, and the rest of you sunk into the supple leather of one of the sofas, it’s easy to lose yourself in quiet thoughts as you listen to the quiet trickle of the table-top fountain, says nurse manager Mary Cooper, MS, RN. Cooper, along with assistant nurse manager Kim Bissett, MSN ’10, MBA, RN, spent countless hours redesigning the former storage space and shopping for details to make it home-like. “In ten minutes, people are renewed,” Cooper says.
Completed in October 2012 specifically for nursing staff, the space exemplifies an ongoing Hopkins-wide wellness initiative focused on resiliency, reducing stress factors that affect nurses” work and health. With Cooper and Bissett’s vision plus $30,000 in funding from various sources, including an internal improvement fund for nurses, the idea for the relaxation room took shape.
“It was designed for the nurses to feel special,” Cooper says.