An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Providing Stress Relief for Deployed USNS Mercy Sailors

23 January 2024

From Chief Petty Officer Shamira Purifoy

The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) is targeting the unique stressors faced by military healthcare workers during Pacific Partnership 2024-1 (PP24-1).

U.S. Lt. Cmdr. Katie Lee, an ER doctor, relaxes in a massage chair in the resiliency room aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) underway in the Pacific Ocean, as part of Pacific Partnership 2024-1, Jan. 23, 2024. Pacific Partnership, now in its 19th iteration, is the largest multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific and works to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase security stability in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Ontiveros)
U.S. Lt. Cmdr. Katie Lee, an ER doctor, relaxes in a massage chair in the resiliency room aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) underway in the Pacific Ocean, as part of Pacific Partnership 2024-1, Jan. 23, 2024. Pacific Partnership, now in its 19th iteration, is the largest multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific and works to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase security stability in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Ontiveros)
U.S. Lt. Cmdr. Katie Lee, an ER doctor, relaxes in a massage chair in the resiliency room aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) underway in the Pacific Ocean, as part of Pacific Partnership 2024-1, Jan. 23, 2024. Pacific Partnership, now in its 19th iteration, is the largest multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific and works to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase security stability in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Ontiveros)
240123-N-VT331-1055
U.S. Lt. Cmdr. Katie Lee, an ER doctor, relaxes in a massage chair in the resiliency room aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) underway in the Pacific Ocean, as part of Pacific Partnership 2024-1, Jan. 23, 2024. Pacific Partnership, now in its 19th iteration, is the largest multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific and works to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase security stability in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin Ontiveros)
Photo By: Seaman Justin Ontiveros
VIRIN: 240123-N-VT331-1055


The Resiliency Room aboard Mercy gives Sailors access to a massage chair, yoga mat, calming music, scent sticks, and coloring books as ways to decompress and relax while aboard the ship. Sailors sign up for 30-minute blocks at a time.

“The resiliency room is an evidence based space, where crew members of the Mercy can go to get away and use evidence based items to de-stress, relax, and renew themselves from having a stressful day,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Erik Sanchez, a clinical nurse specialist aboard Mercy.

Medical care is one of Pacific Partnership’s four lines of effort. The military doctors, nurses and hospital corpsman aboard Mercy provide care to thousands of patients during mission stops in host nations throughout the unifying mission.

“When we care for patients, we need to be at peak performance mentally,” said Sanchez. “If we’re really stressed, we won’t be so focused on the patient and that’s where errors can occur. Patient safety can become an issue.”

Research shows that the use of wellness rooms, like the resiliency room aboard Mercy, mitigate worker stress in acute care settings.

“This room is designed to help reduce workplace stress which hopefully will improve staff members’ morale and can also improve patient safety if the staff member is more relaxed and de-stressed,” said Sanchez. “New environments can add to the difficulties faced by healthcare team members.”

“Caring for the sick and injured in a military treatment facility has its stressors. Those same stressors are here aboard the Mercy, but they’re amplified because everyone here is away from friends and family,” said Sanchez. “They’re missing holidays. They are in new environments, experiencing language barriers, and the potential stress level for Sailors aboard this ship providing healthcare is exponential compared to back home, so myself and the team felt that it was important that we did something to help look after these caregivers.”

During its two months of availability, more than 130 crew members have utilized the room and its features. Staff who utilize the room have the option of filling out an anonymous survey, and Sanchez reports that the reviews are positive. “People who have used the room are reporting about a 50% reduction in their self-reported stress level and about 78-80% of people leaving the room are reporting feeling more focused and ready to go back to work, so we’re getting very positive results,” he said.

“I appreciate the team coming together to make sure that this happened even if it’s only on Mercy,” said U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Christina Kaesberg. “It’s been a great experience even as a trial run. It really has helped a lot of people on this ship.”

“It’s exciting,” Sanchez continued. “This is the first ever resiliency room in an operational setting to our knowledge, so it’s exciting to open the first ever space of this kind in a shipboard environment. This should definitely improve patient safety and patient experience by caring for the caregiver,” Sanchez concluded.

Guidance-Card-Icon Dept-Exclusive-Card-Icon