Vanderbilt University Medical Center is a level I trauma center that has over 55,000 adult emergency visits per year. The Emergency Department is a volatile, high stress environment that can lead to fatigue and feeling of being overwhelmed for staff members. For the past few years the Vanderbilt’s
Wellness Committee has conducted research on the effect the essential oils have on staff members. The purpose of the study was to determine if enhancing the environment by diffusing essential oils into the air will increase energy and decrease stress levels of staff working in the Emergency Department.
Citrus oils including lemon, wild orange, lime, and Citrus Bliss were intermittently diffused in the air.
A pre and post implementation of a self-reported structured survey using a 5-point Likert scale was conducted to indicate staff perceptions of stress following implementation of cold air diffusion of essential oils. The findings are reported in proportions. Before the use of essential oils, 41% of staff members surveyed felt work-related stress very often. After the use of essential oils, only 3% felt work related stress very often. Interestingly, stress experienced outside the Emergency Department did not seem to change. The self-reported feelings of being overwhelmed changed from 25% very often before implementation to 2% after implementation. Feelings of being well equipped to handle stressors at work changed from 13% very often before implementation to 58% after implementation. Perceptions of optimal energy level went from 33% before implementation to 77% post implementation. From this project a 36% decrease in work related stress was reported by the ED healthcare workers. A reduction of feeling overwhelmed with reports of greater ability to handle stressors and increased energy are described. Our experience details less stress is reported after diffusion of therapeutic essential oils.
The Wellness Committee is currently in the process of publishing their study. They are also moving forward with implementing essential oils use into patient care.
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SOURCE: Aromatic Science