The pressure on doctors, nurses and other health care professionals has been constant throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Tara Rynders, a registered nurse in Colorado, has created an arts-based workshop designed to alleviate the stress and compassion fatigue that many medical providers experience. Rynders shares her Brief But Spectacular take on caring for those who care for us.
Stephanie Sy: The pressure on nurses and health care professionals has been constant throughout this pandemic.
In tonight’s Brief But Spectacular, we hear from Tara Rynders, creator of The Clinic, an arts-based workshop designed to alleviate stress and compassion fatigue that many providers experience.
Rynders is a registered nurse in Colorado.
It’s also part of our ongoing arts and culture series, Canvas.
Tara Rynders: I’m a registered nurse.
I was a patient for the first time during this experience of having an ectopic pregnancy that had burst. All these people came rushing into my room and yelling, and it was very chaotic.
But I remember my nurse, and she took my hand and she whispered into my ear and she said, “I’m here and you’re going to be OK.”
After that moment, I realized, this is important work. So I began researching patient outcomes, and realized that what’s stopping our patients from feeling seen and heard and cared for every time is compassion fatigue and nursing burnout.
And so I created a performance and workshop series to raise awareness, but also give resources and tools for resiliency.
The clinic is an art-based workshop series in immersive theater performance. The intention was to raise awareness around compassion fatigue and nursing burnout. It brought people into the hospital for a whole ‘nother reason than to see someone who’s sick or to have a baby, but to watch an actual performance take place in the halls of a hospital.
You follow a woman throughout the hospital as she eventually loses her husband. You also watch the nurses as they share from their perspective what they’re going through. It’s like a behind-the-scenes of what nurses and physicians go through every day.
In the workshop, we brought nurses in, and we spent time with them doing the arts and getting them into a different headspace. Currently, what our performances are looking like are called COVID stories. So, now I’m using artists and nurses to come together and create this conversation, so that the nurses who are inspired now by — after going through these workshops are actually wanting to perform, actually wanting to move and share their own personal stories.
Woman: I remember when I met you. We admitted you that day, a Friday, and, by Tuesday, you were very sick.
I remember trying to advocate for you, and I remember being very scared for myself and my family as I may — that I may have exposed.
Tara Rynders: We’re supporting each other. There’s moments in the workshops when we would come in and we would just — we touch each other, and put our hands on, which we can’t do that anymore.
But through Zoom and through other means, we can see each other, support, be present in each other’s stories. A lot of times, nurses have said to me, like, this is so helpful to know that I’m not feeling this alone. When I go home, I can’t always explain how hard it is, how tragic it is.
When our nurses are cared for, when they’re seen, when they’re heard, they are operating out of their strengths. They’re operating out of support. And only then will they be able to give that same care and love and support to our patients.
My name is Tara Rynders, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on caring for nurses, so that they can care for us.
Stephanie Sy: Those nurses sure deserve a release valve.
You can find all of our Brief But Spectacular segments online at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.
That’s it from us here at “NewsHour West” — Judy, back to you.
Judy Woodruff: Thank you, Stephanie.
And you’re absolutely right. What a wonderful performance that is.