BY BENJAMIN MANDILE
NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens celebrated the opening of a new Employee Wellness Room at its Jamaica campus on Feb. 14.
The new space is part of an ongoing effort to help its employee’s well being in an effort to improve patient care, according to Chris Roker, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens.
“Healthcare workers can only perform at their best when caring for patients when they are taking good care of themselves,” Roker said.
The idea for this room came in part from Roker and hospital administration realizing the connection between employee wellness and patient wellness.
By creating this space, the hospital hopes to improve its patient satisfaction scores, according to Cleon Edwards, a representative of NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens.
Staff self-care is a growing challenge in healthcare as “burnout,” or physical and emotional exhaustion from workplace trauma, proves to be a common issue in the field of medicine.
The 350-square-foot Employee Wellness Room enables healthcare workers to take breaks and step away from the stress of the job to reassess and regroup through therapeutic activities.
Employees will learn about taking care of themselves through mindfulness exercises including mediation, yoga, aromatherapy and nutrition, said Katiuscia Gray, an on-site yoga instructor for the room and a Social Work Supervisor in the Queens Cancer Center.
“The Wellness Room is intended to be a place for employees to come to and relax,” she said.
NYC Health + NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens allocated funding for design and creation of the space from discretionary funds in 2019.
The bright orange room with dim lighting is designed to give an intimate experience. It has space for 10 employees at a time to be in a warm and welcoming environment.
The new experience is a work in progress, said Edwards. Hospital administration hopes to gain feedback on the new space from its users to improve the experience.
This room is part of a larger initiative to address workplace stress by creating access to resources for emotional support.
Helping Healers Heal, a peer-led employee wellness program to assist workers who are “second victims” of patient care events that are traumatic, started in April 2019 in the public healthcare system.