Meditation Garden Provides Respite and Rejuvenation for Staff

Michael Hernandez, CCRN, NE-BC
Michael Hernandez, CCRN, NE-BC

by Michael Hernandez, CCRN, NE-BC
Director of Critical Care
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

Om. When was the last time you’ve given yourself the opportunity for a zen moment at your place of work? Now you can at the new meditation garden at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. The garden provides a physical space for employees to take a moment away from the stress of their jobs and gain much-needed respite and rejuvenation.

We believe that keeping our patients’ care at the center of everything we do is greatly enhanced by providing an environment where staff can thrive. Like all members of the Methodist Health System family, Methodist Mansfield has a proud track record of caring for caregivers. Fitness programs, nutrition and family counseling, and our Live Well, Shine Bright wellness program are examples of Methodist’s comprehensive approach to keeping employees healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Focusing on the well-being of our nurses stems from our evidence-based care model, at the heart of which is relationship-based care. This model is how we recognize that our employees need to take better care of themselves. We know that if our staff is healthy and happy, they are even better caregivers for their patients and are better family members and friends.

Two years in the making, the idea for the meditation garden came from our frontline staff and leadership. They requested a dedicated outside space on the hospital campus where they could get away to take a deep breath of fresh air and recharge — if only for a few moments or a lunch break. Some departments even use it for meetings.

Members of the employee annual giving campaign solicited ideas for the use of their annual funds, and the meditation garden emerged as a strong favorite. Thanks to the thoughtfulness and generosity of our employees, funds for the garden came from the 30 Minute Club where employees have the opportunity to donate one-half hour of their pay every pay period.

With the help of a dedicated team of leadership and employees, the meditation garden grew from an idea on paper to a tranquil getaway across from the breezeway with access from the staff walkway. A wooden pergola anchors the garden that is filled with trees, shrubs, grass, and flowers. A 30-by-30-foot brick floor provides space for picnic tables, benches, and rocking chairs.

The meditation garden was dedicated and officially opened on Dec. 9, 2016, marking the hospital’s 10th anniversary of service to the community. As soon as warm weather arrived, employees began visiting the garden to take advantage of its soothing, tranquil environment. Employee feedback has been very positive. In fact, they are contributing ideas to enhance the value of the meditation garden which may include mister fans, music, and even a water feature.

Nurses and others recognize that the garden is a tangible way for the hospital to provide a space for positive healing and self-care. Ultimately, this translates to renewing the staff’s ability to provide optimum care while living within our mission and values of being the best provider of healthcare in our community.

If you’re looking for an organization that acknowledges that quality patient care comes as a result of caring for its employees, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at