Suburban nurses are truly Suburban Strong. Staff resiliency has been a focus of hospital leadership since day one of the pandemic. “We have found that some of the smallest ideas create tremendous moments of joy for our nursing team,” said LeighAnn Sidone, D.N.P., M.S.N., C.E.N.P., chief nursing officer and interim hospital president.
In early April 2020, less than one month after treating the first COVID-19 patient, Suburban opened a Resiliency Lounge in the outpatient Behavioral Health treatment area. This unit, along with other services, temporarily closed to patients per direction from the state of Maryland. In quick order, Suburban’s Nursing Leadership created a calming space where nurses and other staff could refresh, de-stress and recharge 24/7. “We were so delighted to have this wonderful resource for our nursing during this challenging time,” added Sidone.
When the outpatient space eventually reopened to patients, we heard from nurses that they wanted to bring back the resiliency space. The solution was the creation of a permanent Resiliency Lounge, located in decanted space on the 2nd floor of the hospital’s South Building. Suburban’s Evidence-Based Practice Nursing Council was essential to bringing this space to fruition. The layout of the center, and inclusion of a massage chair, is based on this Council’s extensive literature review. The Council also provided critical input for the design and atmosphere, which includes soothing colors, calming music, scenes from the beach and more. “We wanted to bring the natural world into Suburban,” added Sidone.
In September 2020, Suburban also trained 25 dedicated PEER Responders, who are available to provide 24/7 support for staff experiencing work-related stress. PEER Responders received several days of intensive training, and carry a cell phone when they are on duty to respond to calls and texts.
Suburban’s Resiliency Lounge has become a model for other hospitals within the Johns Hopkins Health System, including the Johns Hopkins Hospital, which toured the space and is putting together plans for a similar resource. In addition, Suburban’s Board of Trustees and the Suburban Hospital Foundation Board have invested in staff resilience, and continue to seek other ways to support our dedicated nurses now and in the future.