Pet Therapy for Doctors and Nurses

Emergency room staff can benefit from canine visits from local SPCA while working in high-stress life-or-death situations.
1:41 | 08/28/14

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Transcript for Pet Therapy for Doctors and Nurses
Finally tonight, it's been shown that pets inside hospitals can do wonders to boost the spirits of patients, but they may also be the perfect prescription for doctors and nurses, as well. Here's ABC's Ron Claiborne. Reporter: For these workers in Philadelphia, lunch time is puppy time. Instead of grabbing a sandwich or a cup of coffee, they spend the time cuddling canines and caressing kittens. Where is this? At the hospital of the university of Pennsylvania. Like any other big city medical center, a place where the tension, the drama, the intensity of life and death are the norm. Healthcare is an incredibly stressful field from the medical intensive care to the emergency to the newborn nursery. It's stressful. Reporter: This E.R. Nurse found she could only unwind when she got home to her bulldog, Annabella, and that gave her an idea. Why not help her stressed co-workers by bringing pets to them where they work? So she recruited the local spca to bring puppies and kittens to the hospital for the workers to play with. It's a great break in the middle of the day. Reporter: It's called the "Pet a pooch" program --the cats don't seem to mind. I've had people say to me, "I walked in here with the worst headache and I instantly feel better." And then they go out and they then go on to provide even better care for their patients. Reporter: Some of the hospital workers end up adopting pets, which is what veteran E.R. Nurse Joyce Finnegan did. The minute I saw him I had to get him. He's my dog. Reporter: But for most of the workers, a few minutes with a playful or sleepy pup is just the prescription. A little caring for those who care for us. Ron Claiborne, ABC news, Philadelphia.

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