During her days off, an ER nurse in Las Vegas spends her spare time braiding and brushing patients’ hair at the hospital.
Brooke Johns had worked as an ER nurse at Southern Hills Hospital for two and a half years. And she is devoted to helping her patients, not only nursing them back to good health but making sure their stay is more pleasant.
It is not always easy for patients who are suffering from their illnesses. And during the time of COVID-19, when family visits are confined, it could be even harder for them to go through their challenges in a strange place.
When one of her friends became ill five months ago, Johns noticed her hair had become very unkempt.
“Her hair was very snarled, she was too weak to brush it out herself and it was something she was very worried about,” Johns told KTNV. “So, one of the times I was up there I was able to brush out her hair and braid it and just talk with her.”
After such a brief moment of care, Johns realized the soothing power of helping people by doing their hair when she saw her friend become “a different person.”
“There’s something therapeutic about the human touch, as well. Human talking, human touching, it’s that connection that we’re all hard-wired for,” Johns said.
She knew this should be the very therapy the patients she meets deserves to receive. And so it soon became a common service in the hospital where she works at.
This so often overlooked treatment turned out to be as powerful and essential as Johns expected.
“COVID is going around and there’s a lot of isolation,” said Sierra Stein, a former patient of Johns. “You can’t have visitors or someone to come in with you or hold your hand and to have someone just to be able to braid your hair makes you feel like you’re at home again.”
Johns’ extra caring for patients didn’t go unnoticed, and soon the hospital decided to commend her on social media.
“On her days off, she comes back to Southern Hills Hospital and spends hours brushing and braiding [patients’] hair. We thought she deserved some recognition for her kind heart,” the hospital wrote on social media. “Thank you Brooke for all that you do! We’re so lucky to have you.”
Soon, other nurses at the Southern Hills had joined Johns’ lead and spent quality time with patients by brushing and braiding their hair.
“Nurses, in general, get into this to help other people,” said Johns.
Johns is planning something more special when visitation restrictions are lifted, which would be a significant day for sure for those confined to a hospital bed. She is considering coming to the Sunrise Children’s Hospital dressed as Elsa from “Frozen” to celebrate the day.