Rebecca Murphy, a social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital, has not been interested in talking with many friends about all that has happened since the Boston Marathon bombings, about holding patients’ hands as they grapple with profoundly changed lives, or helping them apply for disability assistance.
She confides her anguish to close work colleagues. “The people outside, your other friends — they don’t really understand.”
Murphy, who works in the surgical intensive care unit, has felt weary. In the weeks since the attack, caregivers have reported persistent anxiety, sleeplessness, or trouble shaking images of the bombings’ aftermath. People who work in Boston’s world-class hospitals are trained to deal with trauma, but most are unaccustomed to dealing with mass casualties caused by an attack in their own neighborhood, or working under lock-down.
Now, with many of the Marathon patients discharged or moved to rehabilitation facilities, hospitals are helping their staff members process what they have been through, with counseling sessions and interfaith services.
Mass. General provided free yoga, meditation, and massage to staff members last week. The chaplaincy program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has been making the rounds with tea and cookies. In the two weeks following the attack, Boston Medical Center’s employee assistance program handled five times the typical number of requests for individual counseling.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week