Helping Patients Through a Non-Pharmaceutical Approach to Pain

Katie Jimenez BSN, RN – Clinical Nurse Manager – Ascension Seton Smithville Regional Hospital

A newcomer to Texas and Ascension Seton, Katie Jimenez, BSN, RN, is the clinical manager for the med/surg unit and emergency department at Ascension Seton Smithville Regional Medical Center.

Katie has been a nurse for nearly 20 years and has developed a passion for what is known as holistic nursing, a practice focused on caring for a patient’s mind, body and spirit. Katie completed a certificate course with the American Holistic Nursing Association and is sharing her knowledge and passion with her colleagues, associates and patients at Ascension Seton Smithville.

When Katie first arrived at the hospital, she noticed that many of the walls in the patient rooms were bare and quickly found some vintage oil paintings and hung them up. “Environment is very important to me,” explained Katie. “Everything from natural lighting to fresh air and reducing noise.”

Katie has been leading an effort at Ascension Seton Smithville called the Non-Pharmaceutical Approach to Pain (NPAP) program. This evidence-based initiative provides patients with a range of new tools to improve their pain levels such as music therapy, aromatherapy and guided meditation. Appropriate patients are identified during the daily multi-disciplinary huddle and are then instructed on the benefits of music therapy. Patients can also request sound machines and can select among three to four different essential oils that can be diffused in their room. For patients wanting to explore meditation, a series of videos and CDs are available, as is an eclectic collection of music and comedy acts for humor therapy.

In addition to leading the NPAP program, Katie is the site coordinator for the Provider/Associate Care Team (PACT). In that role, she helps her peers during periods of work-related stress or following difficult events like a patient code or medication error. “Because of my personal interest in wellness, we are expanding our PACT activities to include quarterly employee wellness events,” explained Katie.

In May, Katie is leading efforts to transform the hospital’s small chapel into a unique space with calm music, a water feature and aromatherapy; associates will also be treated with an aromatherapy essential oil roller. For a week, Katie plans to not only promote the offerings of the PACT team, but to introduce interested staff to mediation and guided imagery for personal use. “I want to highlight the importance of taking care of yourself so you can thrive while working in the challenging and rewarding field of healthcare. My hope is that everyone has the tools and practices to be healthy and successful,” Katie said.