Rosa crossed the finish line in tears. Was she rejoicing in her accomplishment or crying from pain? Only Rosa knew the mingling of meaning that this race held. Pounding through the miles of her half-marathon, Rosa remembered the comfort of her grandma’s kitchen with the fragrance of fresh tamales in the air. She smiled with the memory. Now, however, Rosa’s grandma was finishing a different race. While Rosa ran in Moab, Grandma was being laid to rest in Peru. Her life on this earth was finished. Although it had been too far for Rosa to travel, her mother was there when Grandma died. In fact, it was Rosa who coached her mother through the ten days before Grandma’s death. Rosa’s mother was unsure of what to do in order to provide care, so she relied on her daughter for support and guidance. In daily phone calls, Rosa listened to her mother’s concerns, fears, and questions. She couldn’t be there herself, but she could use her knowledge as a nurse to empower her mother. Rosa ran her race as a way to honor her Grandma’s life and process her own grief. No doubt, all three women in this family finished well.
Rosa is a nurse at St. Mark’s.
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.”