Knocking out Stress through Knitting

We propose to hold knitting classes for nurses and other staff at Virginia Hospital Center and INOVA Children's as a way to help nurses and hospital staff cope with stress. New knitters will learn to make a simple garter stitch chemo cap, and experienced knitters will make "knitted knockers," prosthesis for breast cancer patients. The knockers and caps are in demand at the Cancer Resource Centers, and will be donated to patients at the hospitals.

There is a clear benefit to the staff: two oncology nurses at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital whom Project Knitwell taught to knit (pictured in photo labeled "Lyndsay" below) published an article in the Journal of Oncology Nursing showing that knitting can help oncology nurses reduce "burnout" or "compassion fatigue."

Nurses at Virginia Hospital Center approached Project Knitwell about having a knitting class for staff. The class will benefit the participants who will receive the wellness benefits of doing something creative, that offers a respite from their immediate situation, and that has a positive effect on reducing stress symptoms. In turn, they will make a practical item that can be used by patients at the hospital. Finally, knowing first hand the benefits that knitting can offer, they will also become advocates for knitting as a wellness tool. They can promote knitting for patients and caregivers as a way to help them cope with stress and pass the time during their hospital stays and beyond.

Project Knitwell volunteers, experienced in working in a hospital setting, will conduct the classes and provide all supplies.

Funded by Northern Virginia (NOVA) (December 2017)