Hackensack University Medical Center Focuses on Team Members Wellness

Delys Ripoll, a nursing assistant enjoys attending a meditation session at the Pavilion rooftop garden at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Program provides innovative ways to help team members relax and refocus their attention

Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is encouraging its team members to take better care of themselves by offering ways to better manage stress. Every Wednesday, the rooftop garden located in the Pavilion building holds a meditation session.

“Anyone who works in health care is under tremendous stress,” says Kelly Briggs, MBA, RN-NE, BC, administrative director of Patient Care, Critical Care and Cardiovascular Services at Hackensack University Medical Center, and a trained yoga instructor and meditation leader. “Often, we may think we are handling stress well, but our body tells us otherwise. We see our team members with physical manifestations of stress through disease processes, interpersonal issues, and other signs. Meditation is one small way we can start to make a shift within ourselves.”

Kelly says she began the meditation group in March, initially for managers in critical care and the Heart & Vascular Hospital, areas she oversees.   The program was then made available to all team members every Wednesday.

“Within a week, we could see that people really wanted this and wanted to have more offerings,” said Kelly.  “We partnered with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® on a series of events for Earth Week.  The response was so positive and overwhelming we realized this was something that people needed and wanted. We looked for opportunities to do even more.”

Delys Ripoll, a nursing assistant recently attended her first meditation session.

“I am here because I want to work on myself and increase my kindness with my patients,” said Delys Ripoll. “I love yoga. It helps me a lot.  And, I really enjoy this meditation session.  I really like what Kelly teaches us – to be kind to others and to ourselves.”

Team member, Lorraine Castro works in Patient Safety and Quality, and is also a Reiki Master, attends Kelly’s meditation sessions.

“I find it to be a mental escape from the day and also rejuvenating at the same time,” said Lorraine. “After a session, for the rest of the day I am in a different frame of mind.  I feel it gives me a new perspective.”

In addition to the meditation session, Kelly says Reiki sessions are also being offered by a five member team of volunteers.  Another modality the medical center is employing to foster a more positive and productive workplace environment and a better connection to one another is the Clarity Capsule, which is located in the Second Street Café.

“We invite our team members to utilize the Clarity Capsule, which provides an ideal setting for reflection,” said Nadine D’Ambrosio, manager, Business Development at The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center® at Hackensack University Medical Center. “The Clarity Capsule is a tranquil, cushioned booth meant to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.  It’s virtually soundproof, offering respite to those who spend work days dedicated to caring for others.”

“I applaud the efforts of our team members who have taken the initiative to find unique and innovative ways for their colleagues to pause and reconnect,” said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., FACS, president of Hackensack University Medical Center.  “These opportunities to center and re-focus rejuvenates our team’s dedication to providing the highest quality, human-centered care to our patients and their families.”

About Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, NJ, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state. Founded in 1888 as the county’s first hospital, it is now part of one of the largest networks in the state comprised of 33,000 team members and more than 6,500 physicians. Hackensack University Medical Center was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey in U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-18 Best Hospital rankings – maintaining its place atop the NJ rankings since the rating system was introduced. It was also named one of the top four New York Metro Area hospitals. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more years in a row. Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Hackensack University Medical Center as one of the 100 Great Hospitals in America 2018. The medical center is one of the top 25 green hospitals in the country according to Practice Greenhealth, and received 25 Gold Seals of Approval™ by The Joint Commission – more than any other hospital in the country. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence; receiving its fifth consecutive designation in 2014. Hackensack University Medical Center has created an entire campus of award-winning care, including: the John Theurer Cancer Center; the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital, which was designed with The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Hackensack University Medical Center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls and is Official Medical Services Provider to The Northern Trust PGA Golf Tournament. It remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events especially the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign providing much needed research at the Children’s Cancer Institute housed at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. To learn more, visit