Meditation at CHLA: How Team Members Reset and Recharge

From Eunice Oh, writing for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles on meditation for healthcare staff:

Photo of CHLA chaplain and staff member engaged in meditation“We want to help people find a moment of calm because we recognize the type of work that happens at a place like Children’s Hospital. Whether it’s a nurse, someone from facilities or a researcher in the lab, everyone can benefit from meditating,” says Rev. Dagmar Grefe, PhD, ACPE, Manager of Spiritual Care and Clinical Pastoral Education.

During the pandemic, the biweekly sessions were held virtually. The program recently resumed an in-person format—masked and socially distanced in the Leavey Foundation Interfaith Center—bringing together familiar faces and first-time attendees. Although virtual sessions are still offered, for many, returning to a communal setting and being around others in a shared, safe space has its own therapeutic effect.

“It’s almost like you can feel the care and love from the person next to you,” says Pinto. “It’s not the same when I do it on my own. I tried doing it at home and it’s better when we’re in a group and there’s someone guiding you.”

Typically, the session will start with a brief check-in, a moment for people to share their thoughts or struggles that day. Then the guided meditation begins: The facilitator will ask participants to sit up straight with the spine relaxed and to feel the ground beneath their feet. Breathwork follows with three deep, intentional breaths at first, then paying attention to each inhale and exhale thereafter. After 15 to 20 minutes, a bell is rung and the meditation ends, and the session concludes with the chance for participants to share their experience.

“There’s a sense of doing it in community that is very supportive,” says Rev. Grefe.

Read more on this practice of meditation here. You can also learn about the Lab’s support of chaplain resilience here.