Fall marks the start of influenza season—a time of year that fills up hospitals and gives healthcare workers an extra layer of stress, but at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, however, patient care staff can step into a “Serenity Lounge,” a break room equipped with massage chairs, aromatherapy oils, artwork and other amenities to provide a soothing respite from their demanding work.
“Historically, studies have shown that nurses’ well-being affects job satisfaction and performance, along with the quality of care we can provide to patients,” said Melanie Barone, RN, MSN, associate nursing director and co-creator of the medical center’s Serenity Lounge initiative.
The 24/7/365 Serenity Lounges, a culmination of ideas backed up by research from Cedars-Sinai nurses, was a valuable resource for employees needing a 10- to 20-minute respite.
Since the first Serenity Lounge opened during the COVID-19 pandemic, 13 additional lounges have opened throughout the medical center. Cedars-Sinai nurse Florida Pagador, RN, MSN, conceptualized the idea as a solution to her need for relaxation during breaks.
“Being at patients’ bedsides can be mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging,” said Pagador. “I needed a place to relax and recharge, so I pitched the idea, and we got to work.”
Pagador and Barone found an underutilized locker area, gave it a makeover, and established the first lounge. As the pandemic continued, more nursing teams carved out space for their Serenity Lounges.
In a study by Pagador and Barone that was published in the American Journal of Nursing, Cedars-Sinai nurse investigators found that nurses who used a massage chair in a quiet room for as little as 10 minutes experienced mental and emotional relief, allowing them to return to patient care better equipped to handle the stress.
“If we see a colleague having a bad day, we ask them if they need to go for a walk or if they need to take 10 minutes in the lounge,” Barone said. “Our culture is to support each other and recharge, no matter what kind of day you’re having.”
Serenity Lounge benefits have stretched far beyond Cedars-Sinai, garnering attention and inquiries from nursing professionals throughout the U.S.
“Our nurses are the backbone of compassionate patient care, and their well-being is paramount,” says David Marshall, JD, DNP, RN, senior vice president, chief nursing executive, and the James R. Klinenberg, MD, and Lynn Klinenberg Linkin Chair in Nursing in honor of Linda Burnes Bolton.
“The Serenity Lounges stand as a testament to our commitment to provide an environment that empowers and nurtures our nursing family.”