Sentara RMH organizes a “Walk of Remembrance” for staff to reflect on and process emotions related to the pandemic

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – On Thursday, Sentara RMH Chaplaincy Services held a “Walk of Remembrance”.

Rene Hostetter, a palliative care chaplain at Sentara, said they wanted to find a way to help hospital staff express and deal with the emotions they have been feeling over the past year.

“As chaplaincy services, we wanted to provide a space for staff to name their losses, their grief, to be able to reflect and deal with those losses and also to help them recognize that they are not alone,” said Hostetter.

During the “walk”, staff could visit different stations such as planting seeds of hope, lighting a candle for loss, and writing their feelings on a “tangled ball of emotions”.

In 2020, Shannon Jackson graduated from college and started her freshman year as a nurse.

“This year in a nutshell has been absolutely crazy,” Jackson said. “No one expects to start their career in the event of a pandemic.”

Jackson said one of the hardest parts of the pandemic is getting to know patients and not always seeing them improve.

She said the feelings stayed with her.

“It’s something that’s going to live on in your mind. It’s something that really makes you realize how precious every day is, ”Jackson said.

Jackson said it’s nice to have a space to think and reflect.

“I know for me personally I would just pick myself up by the boot straps and sort of show up for work the next day because there were still people who needed that help. I really didn’t take the time to think about it because if I did, it would be almost impossible to come to work the next day, ”Jackson said.

Posters were distributed to 22 different units in the hospital and staff were able to write descriptions of what the experience was like for them.

Hostetter said the posters and a few activities will be moving to the hospital cafeteria so those who couldn’t stop can see them.

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