It’s National Nurses’ Week. This year the national theme is: Nursing: Balancing mind, body and spirit.
It’s certainly a special week for the nurses at OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital. Not only for the recognition of the work they do daily for patients and their families, but it’s also the yearly blessing of the hands.
“This is one of my favorite things to do for the whole year,” said Jean Feeney, manager of pastoral care for OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital.
This week Feeney went floor to floor, taking hands, saying a blessing, rubbing an essential oil on either the top or bottom of their hands and sharing a word with each team member.
“We bless the hands of all the staff. It’s a way to recognize their healing touch,” Feeney said. “Especially with nurses — lifting someone up, giving medicine, charting on medical records — wanting to bless them and recognize the work they do.”
Sometimes she is met with a smile, other times, it’s a simple thank you, and on occasion it will be greeted with a hug.
“Doing that ritual for me, is just a powerful way for me to say stop, just for this one moment, and know that you are a gift to this hospital, to the patients, to the families and this staff and bless you for all that you do,” Feeney said.
Feeney says it’s a great reminder for her, and important for the nursing staff to understand just how much their hands can be instruments of healing.
“We want this to be meaningful for them. An opportunity to not only remind them, but to speak to their hearts and minds at a deeper level than just words alone,” Feeney said.
Nurses said the blessing of the hands experience was nice for them.
“As nurses we work with our hands so much, especially in the ICU, whether it’s holding someone’s hand as they talk about fears, or using our hands with chest compressions to save a life,” Rachel Hartley, a nurse in the Grady ICU said.
Hartley says they know they are supported as a nursing staff throughout the hospital, and not just this week.
“Jean has come up and just asked me how I was doing, before going in and talking with patients.”
Feeney also goes back for the evening shift to make sure every person in the hospital is given the opportunity to have their hands blessed.
“We have some that ask, when are you coming? I don’t want to be gone or at lunch when you come by for the blessing,” Feeney said.
Staff members at Grady also get a card to take with them, keep with them, or even put up in their work station or at home.
The blessing of the hands is something that happens yearly at hospitals throughout the OhioHealth system.