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Tranquility room helps medical staff de-stress

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Photo source: Channel 3's Kathryn Daniel and Markus Morris

Registered nurse Travis Martin works in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast (SHHEC). He loves the pace and challenge of his demanding and rewarding job. For Martin, serving his patients and their families is a privilege that sometimes comes with a personal price tag. He elaborated, "You sacrifice a lot in order to do that. Including going to lunch later or going to the bathroom later. It's not always your priority, your priority is your patient."

That's exactly why managers installed the "Tranquility Room." It's a calm area where associates can get away to, for silence and peace. Martin laughed, "We don't bring our phones in here."

Jeff Ryan is the head of Missions and Pastoral Care at SHHEC. He said the hospital already had a chapel and a prayer garden, but he wanted to provide a refuge just for staff.

"It may be for focusing on a verse for a few moments such as Philippians 4 where it reads, 'don't be anxious about anything.' A person may have a moment of focus where they're feeling anxiety and they need to recenter themselves," he added.

Ryan explained that managers want to help workers avoid excessive stress and anxiety. He explained, "Health care workers burn out all the time but it's something that's very preventable. Burn out doesn't have to happen."

These days, Martin is a believer in the tranquility room. "It can give you a little kick start for the second half of your shift." Martin sometimes serves as a relief charge nurse. During those times, he's watching for signs of stress and is encouraging his colleagues to take a "Tranquility Room" break. "Everyone would be able to take a little bit more away from the day and they can ultimately take care of their patients better," said Martin.