Mount Sinai South Nassau unveils outdoor employee recharge area


Employees at Mount Sinai South Nassau have a new spot to take a moment and unwind from their busy jobs. Designed as a place for staff of Mount Sinai South to refresh and rejuvenate while on their breaks, a ribbon cutting was held to welcome the hospital’s new outdoor employee recharge area. The recharge area has been funded by a $100,000 gift from Flagstar Bank (formerly Signature Bank).

“It’s nice for them to have an option to get out of the buildings, but at the same time, they’re close enough that if they need to respond to a phone call or a page or anything they’re just steps away from the door,” said Dr. Adhi Sharma, President, Mount Sinai South Nassau. “You want them to just have a lunch break, just recharge because what they see on the floors day to day is challenging.”

In 2021, the bank announced a $100,000 commitment to the hospital workforce’s well-being by creating and supporting an outdoor recharge space, designed to help promote the importance of the physical, spiritual, and mental well-being of the staff.

“We are a really strong community supporter of the organization and certainly, they focus on wellness and health care,” said Sharma. “We continue to focus on wellness because if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of others. It’s great to have a partner that supports those efforts.”

Eileen Hinrichs is the chairperson of the Holistic Council and coordinates holistic medicine, mental behavior, mental health, and stress management, for nurses and doctors at the hospital. Hinrichs has gotten employees to transition from the indoor recharge room to the brand-new outdoor recharge area by promoting the benefits of getting outside and taking a break and a pause.

“Colors, nature, textures, what it does to your nervous system by actually stepping into the recharged room inside and when we have the benefit of actually being outside, breathing in the air and seeing the different colors,” she said. “We can’t all go forest bathing, but we could step outside for a few minutes in the grass, in the colors, and just reset the autonomic nervous system.”

The staff has already taken full advantage of the center, having already taken time to do some stretching and yoga exercises out in the recharge area.

“It’s great,” said nurse Patricia Bartels. “It’s really nice to come down here and sit. It’s a nice area for us to be in and finally, things have come to a place where we’re able to really promote the breaks. Covid kind of wrecked a lot of that.”

During the pandemic, hospital employees were under a lot of stress, and the hospital built an inside recharge area for the staff. Now the outdoor respite area allows frontline hospital staff to spend time with colleagues and eat outdoors, reset, and relieve stress from the challenges of the day. The bank also contributed newly planted vegetation and installed benches.

Flagstar Bank has a longstanding relationship with Mount Sinai South Nassau and has supported hospital staff throughout the pandemic, first with the “Haircuts for Heroes” event in 2020 when many service establishments were closed and MSSN employees were working around the clock.

“We wanted to continue supporting the staff because, after the pandemic, we were trying to bounce around what we could do for the staff,” said Lucy Iannucci, Group Director & Senior Vice President, Flagstar Bank “The hospital came up with the idea of having this outdoor recharge area so that people that work for the hospital can destress a little.”

The bank also has been a consistent supporter of the hospital’s ongoing fundraising efforts to improve health care on the South Shore, including its annual golf outing and Soiree Under the Stars gala.

“We’re just very fortunate to have people like Lucy, who are there for us when we need them. This was a period of very high stress,” said Joe Calderone, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications. “Lucy and the bank were looking to help so we’re just very grateful for the great community support.”