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UT Health East Texas offers ‘Recharge Room’ to help relieve stress

“I didn’t perceive this could ever be inside of a hospital.”
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 9:52 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Wednesday wraps up National Nurse Appreciation week and marks the halfway point of National Hospitals Week. UT Health East Texas is celebrating their healthcare providers and staff with a serene atmosphere that offers everyone a second to relieve some stress -- it’s called the Recharge Room.

It was once a visitors area, but since the pandemic resulted in a lack of visitors coming through the hospital, they transformed the space into a spot for all of their hospital members to come in and take a breath.

“I didn’t perceive this could ever be inside of a hospital…It will pretty much tackle every single one of your senses,” said Dr. Carla Wang-Kocik, a Pulmonary Critical Care doctor, as she sat in a massage chair in what she calls her favorite corner.

Dr. Wang-Kocik is one of the healthcare providers taking advantage of the mini oasis inside the UT Health East Texas main campus. The Recharge Room is equipped with weighted blankets, aromatherapy, trauma-free yoga classes, coloring materials, soothing sounds, water, chocolates and more. Anything and everything you could think of to help relieve stress.

Brenda McBride is the Director of Trauma Support Services and she’s the mastermind behind The Recharge Room. She explained, “all the things in this room are designed by science to help us go through these stress response cycles.”

McBride has worked as a trauma counselor for decades and she says she was shocked at what it took to get healthcare workers into the room.

“The biggest surprise for me was two things,” she said. “Number one is how dehydrated our caregivers are.”

The second came once they got inside. She realized how reluctant most were to take a moment to relax.

“Sometimes they’ll be in a massage chair for 30 seconds and they’ll go ‘okay I need to be done!’ And I’ll say, ‘you’ve just been in the chair for 30 seconds.. I wonder if you can take a minute, or maybe even 2,” said McBride.

Some hospital staff who use the room say they’ve seen a noticed improvement on their home life. UT Health East Texas CEO, Vicki Briggs, said she recalls a story from one nurse who uses the room as a pit stop on her way home.

“Her daughter noted, ‘mom, you’re so much happier when you get home,’ and she connected the dots saying, ‘it’s because I’ve been stopping at The Recharge Room.’,” said Briggs.

Everything from the smell of citrus essential oils to the sound of trickling water are aimed to help hospital workers take better care of themselves, so that they can carry that into their patient care and family lives.

Outside of The Recharge Room UT Health East Texas is continuing their show of appreciation for healthcare providers. For national hospital week they’ll be having town hall meetings with refreshments and door prizes for staff. They’re also hosting a food truck picnics throughout the day for hospital members to enjoy on their shifts

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