Exploring green spaces in healthcare
In her landmark 'Notes on Nursing', Florence Nightingale said that the most challenging ordeal for a feverish patient is: 'Not being able to see out of window, and the knots in the wood being the only view. I shall never forget the rapture of fever patients over a bunch of bright-coloured flowers'. Staff wellbeing, stress and burnout remain critical issues for health services worldwide. In the UK, an NHS staff survey found that over 40% of staff experience work-related stress, with a net impact on clinical care, greater workload for staff and cost to the health service. At the World Association of Eye Hospitals meeting two years ago the importance of green spaces were discussed, and the opportunities for practising mindfulness and reducing daily stresses — for patients, visitors and staff. Whether gardens, greenery or wild areas, these spaces have tremendous value in providing an interface to enable us to connect with nature and ourselves. Through innovative uses of space for art, reflection, exercise, community and food growing, they can reduce stress and fatigue, and have a positive effect in terms of mental health. This talk will describe these important therapeutic tools, their rise and fall and rebirth from the Victorian periods, through the 'car park era' and the 1984 Ulrich renaissance.
Practitioners will understand how to adapt the workplace environment to help reduce work-related stress and avoid negative impact on patient care.