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Sentara RMH holds “Walk of Remembrance” for staff to reflect and process pandemic emotions

Published: Jun. 18, 2021 at 12:02 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 11:50 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - On Thursday, chaplain services at Sentara RMH held a “Walk of Remembrance.”

Rene Hostetter, a palliative care chaplain with Sentara, said they wanted to find a way to help hospital staff express and address the emotions they have felt over the last year.

“We as chaplain services wanted to provide a space for staff to be able to name their losses, their grief, to be able to reflect and process on those losses and also to assist them in recognizing how they are not alone,” Hostetter said.

In the “walk,” staff could visit different stations such as planting seeds of hope, lighting a candle for loss and writing their feelings on a “tangled ball of emotions.”

In 2020, Shannon Jackson graduated college and began her first year as a nurse.

“This year in a nutshell has been absolutely crazy,” Jackson said. “No one expects to start your career in a pandemic.”

Jackson said one of the hardest parts of the pandemic is getting to know patients and not always seeing them get better.

She said the feelings stay with her.

“It’s something that is going to live on in your mind. It is something that really makes you take hold of how precious each day is,” Jackson said.

Jackson said it is nice to have a space to think and reflect.

“I know for me personally, I would just pick myself up by the boot straps and just kind of show up to work the next day because there were still people that needed that help. I really didn’t take time to reflect because if I did it would make coming to work the next day nearly impossible,” Jackson said.

Posters were passed around to 22 different units in the hospital and staff were able to write descriptions of what this experience has been like for them.

Hostetter said the posters and a few activities will move to the hospital cafeteria so those who weren’t able to stop by can see them.

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