Geisinger’s “Paws to Reflect” program selected for national funding

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Geisinger was selected to receive grant funding for Paws to Reflect, an innovative program aimed at combating burnout and trauma in the nursing field, during the first ever NurseHack4Health Pitch-A-Thon.

Geisinger was one of three health organizations to be awarded the funding provided by #FirstRespondersFirst to implement new, innovative programs for employees.

Geisinger nurses, in collaboration with members from Geisinger’s Center for Professionalism and Well-Being and the Volunteer Services Division, presented the program to the panel. Paws to Reflect will connect nurses with therapy dogs and their handlers, as well as a peer support team, to provide real time relief and comfort in a safe environment. When needed, the program can also direct staff to appropriate additional resources.  

“This program was initiated because we asked caregivers what would help them feel better and get through a difficult day,” said team leader Dawn Snyder, a clinical nurse specialist at Geisinger. “This was their response — we just responded to their needs.” 

The initiative was one of just three pitches selected by judges to receive full funding, out of dozens of entries from organizations across the country.

“The Paws to Reflect program was designed to be a sustainable solution to two very clear needs for our caregivers: more emotional support and more puppies!” said Brittany Drumm, program director of Geisinger’s Center for Professionalism and Well-Being. “By scaling and partnering our RISE peer support program and our employee-facing pet therapy program, we have the chance to deliver comfort, resources, safe spaces and moments of respite to our incredible teams.”