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Hands healing

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Teresa Watson, right, anoints nurse Denise Gibbons' hands Monday afternoon while Amy Woessner awaits her turn. The blessing honored Summit Medical Center's health care professionals, as well as their ability to heal with their hands.
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FRISCO – We use our hands for a multitude of tasks throughout the day – eating, signing our names, picking up clothes, shaking hands.

But how often do we consider their power to heal?

“Research shows that the way a patient is touched -how we use our hands (as health care providers) -can shorten patients’ healing time,” said Carol Turrin, administrator at Summit Medical Center.



Monday, about 40 health care providers attended Summit Medical Center’s annual Blessing of the Hands Nurses Day.

After a short reflection about the power of using one’s hands to convey compassion, respect and gentleness, chaplains blessed people’s hands with anointed, lavender-scented oil.



As chaplain Charlene Schaaf spread oil on people’s outstretched palms, she addressed each person by name saying, “May this anointing be a blessing to you and empower and enable you to use your hands and your heart in a healing way wherever you go and whatever you do.”

“The blessing is to help them realize that their ministry (of healing) is sacred,” Schaaf said.

“Our hands signify what we do. It signifies our caring,” Turrin said.

“Spiritually, they’re our tool to take care of patients. This ceremony signifies how important they are and how important touch is.”

Jean Shaffer, a surgery nurse, increased health care providers’ awareness of the importance of healing touch when she became a holistic health nurse a year ago (see related story).

Since she brought holistic practices into the hospital, most of the nurses and doctors have shown interest in them, if not used the techniques themselves, she said.

While most health care facilities celebrate nurses day, St. Anthony hospitals – which Summit Medical Center is a part of – takes a spiritual approach to honoring nurses with its anointing of the hands.

“I’ve participated in many nurses days in other places, but there’s something special about participating in an organization where ministry and mission are carried out every day,” said Chris Mosley, chief operations officer of St. Anthony hospitals.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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