Anyone who knows Ray, knows that he likes to play! While he easily offers a hug, or teases a colleague, he feels fully alive when he is playing with his own kids. Not one to wait for fun to find him, he casts planning to the wind and just gets going. One memorable day on vacation he tossed the tots into the ocean to experience snorkeling. For a local activity, Ray might haul the kids off to the zoo for a day or take everyone biking. Play is not just about exercise or recreation for Ray, however. It touches on something much more meaningful to him. “Movement and fluidity are important parts of experiencing life,” he explains. For example, Ray loves to snowboard where he can get out of his head, forget about mechanics, get up some speed, and then just let go. He goes on, “I just let the body do what it knows.” Make no mistake, Ray is not all play and no work. As a nurse, he has a deep respect for the body, even when it comes to experiencing pain. “Pain lets us know that we are alive,” he explains. When treating patients or taking care of himself, Ray honors the body-mind-spirit connection in all of its complexity.
Ray is a nurse in St. Mark’s Emergency Department.
St. Mark’s Hospital Chaplain Saundra Shanti wanted to connect patients to their caregivers and employees to each other. That’s why she created the Healing Hands portrait series, featuring black and white photographs and stories of St. Mark’s employees at all levels.
“Our patients and families who go in and out know that this is a nurse, and this is a housekeeper, but they don’t know them as people,” Saundra said. “I wanted to humanize our healthcare community to one another and to our families and patients.”
Each photo is accompanied by a story; some biographical, others are anecdotes of experiences that led employees to become caregivers and healthcare professionals. Twelve portraits are currently displayed throughout the hospital, but a total of 36 photos will be rotated throughout the exhibit for the next two months.
By highlighting personal, inspiring and real stories about the staff who will be caring for patients during what can often be an emotional time, the exhibit builds a sense of community. Patients and families will be able to view caregivers as real people with real stories whom they can relate to and connect with, making the hospital experience more personal.
“When we humanize each other, we care more for one another,” Saundra said. “I wanted our employees to be recognized as valuable human beings apart from their professional titles. I wanted to cultivate interaction and respect across our departments and services.”