CALMING FRAGRANCE Thomas Koehler, BSN, RN, CNOR (left), says administering aromatherapy preoperatively can ameliorate patients’ anxiety about their upcoming procedures and improve their clinical outcomes.
The patient at John Muir Hospital was extremely anxious while waiting for her surgery to start and had no loved ones present to support her, which the pre-op nursing staff knew would only intensify her anxiety. Thomas Koehler, BSN, RN, CNOR, a perioperative nurse at the facility in Walnut Creek, Calif., gave the patient a plastic inhaler about the size of a lipstick container filled with calming lavender oil. “The patient used the inhaler frequently, almost like a calming blanket,” says Mr. Koehler. “She told us the inhaler helped her relax, which in turn made me feel good. I think a lot of pre-op nurses feel helpless because there really aren’t a lot of things in our toolkit that treat acute preoperative anxiety.”