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SGMC Creates Zen Dens to Promote Employee Wellness

Posted on: May 24th, 2023
Jennifer Stripling, Nurse in the SGMC Pearlman Cancer Center, enjoys a relaxing massage courtesy of the SGMC Foundation.

South Georgia Medical Center recently added new technology to its facilities, but unlike traditional medical advancements, this equipment prioritizes the health of its workforce. Emphasizing workplace wellness, SGMC installed 15 state-of-the-art massage chairs across its four hospitals and select specialty care sites.  

Launched in May as a part of Mental Health Awareness Month, the new “Zen Dens” are dedicated relaxation rooms where hardworking staff can get a few minutes of respite. The SGMC Foundation funded the $100,000 project from generous donations given to specifically support employees. 

“Our communities have been extremely supportive by providing generous gifts to the SGMC Foundation to support our nurses and staff,” said Hilary Gibbs, Vice President and Chief Development Officer. “As part of SGMC’s vision to be the leader in improving the health, wellness, and quality of life in our communities, we also look internally to our employee community. We are proud to support our nurses and staff who devote their efforts, time, and energy to serve others.” 

A study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health showed that healthcare workers are more likely to experience mental health problems. This included those working in patient care such as nurses, physicians, medical assistants, and many others who serve in critical support roles. While these challenges are not new, they have intensified since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The emotional toll of working in any healthcare setting can be high,” said Brenda Alexander, Vice President of Physician Network and Chief Human Resources Officer at SGMC. “Our goal is to offer unique ways to support our workforce, and these Zen Dens provide our team a quick recharge so that they can care for their own physical and mental health just as they care for their patients.” 

Studies show that massage chairs can have a positive impact on employees’ health and productivity by reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation. They can also aid in reducing burnout and increasing job satisfaction.  

SGMC says this is just one component of its overall employee wellness strategy.  

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