A Nurse’s Motivation for Peace

Critical care patients face a mountain of challenges: breathing problems, infections, immobility and invasive procedures. On top of this, they get little sleep; and a lack of sleep can lead to confusion, patient falls, longer recovery times and little time for the body to heal.

Firsthand experience

When Karen’s son landed in a critical care unit after a military helicopter crash, she saw firsthand how clinician visits, medication infusion pumps and bedside alarms interfere with patients’ need for sleep. Karen, a critical care nurse, used her son’s experience as motivation to establish quiet times on her own critical care unit.

A hush in critical care

Two times a day, Karen and her nurse colleagues dim the lights, close the blinds, place phones on vibrate and avoid hallway conversations, all to promote rest. Nurses also educate patients and families on the quiet time program, Helping Understand Sleep Heals or H.U.S.H.

“Our hospital has an open visiting policy,” says Karen. “So, it’s important to help families and visitors understand the importance of quiet time.”

Karen’s son agrees. A year ago, Grant experienced quiet time on his mother’s critical care unit while recovering from abdominal surgery. Grant told Karen that he looked forward to the time of day or night when he would have peace.

Because of Karen’s inspiration, critical care patients are now experiencing the healing power of sleep.