At the onset of the pandemic, people were memorably advised to sing “Happy Birthday” to themselves to ensure they washed their hands long enough to fully disinfect them. At Dayton (Ohio) Eye Surgery Center, where hand hygiene has always been a point of emphasis, even more value has been added to that cleansing 20 seconds: a moment of mindfulness.
“Realizing that burnout is an important thing, we implemented a mindfulness exercise into our hand hygiene protocol,” says Deena Edwards, MSN, administrator/director of nursing at Dayton Eye, who credits assistant director of nursing Andrea Weisenburgh, RN, with leading the project. “To ensure we have compliance for that full 20 seconds, we teach everyone to use handwashing as a moment of mindfulness. Listen to the water, feel the water, just decompress. Use that time of handwashing not just to scrub, scrub, scrub, hurry and get back in the room. Use it as a moment to unwind and relax before you get into the next case.”
This simple exercise not only addresses the mental wellbeing of staff, but in doing so, it also improves their ability to provide safer, more attentive care to their patients.