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Nurses need pet therapy, too!


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Pet therapy for patients is awesome. I think there is a decent amount of research that shows patients like cozying up to a sweet animal.

Every once in a while I will see one of our dog “volunteers” making his or her way upstairs to bring happiness to patients and I sneak a quick scratch behind the ears. That always makes me smile.

The hospital environment can be so sterile and the presence of man’s best friend is such a nice distraction. It got me thinking that maybe we could have pet therapy for hospital staff!

Wouldn’t it be awesome to cuddle up with a purring cat or a snuggly dog on your break? I think it would help to de-stress staff and make them a lot happier to go back on the floor.

Once, a patient was admitted who didn’t have anyone to care for his puppy who was in the car. Well, I couldn’t allow the dog to sit in a car all by himself so I smuggled him into the back offices (far, far away from patient care areas) and we kept him for a couple hours until someone finally came and picked up the dog. It was so fun for the few hours that we had a ‘department mascot’. Staff kept sneaking back to the offices to see the cutey and play with him. Every person left with a smile on their face (and yes, they were all reminded to wash their hands before returning to patient care!) and I have to say, I think the puppy was sad to leave us!!

Maybe one day when I finally get my cappuccino machine in the staff lounge I can convince the higher ups to let us have a puppy too. We promise we will clean  up after it!!!

Rebekah Child
Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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