PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — In recognition of Nurse’s Week, licensed therapy horses paid a visit to Carle Health Proctor Hospital. The event began Tuesday in the grassy area located behind the Physician parking lot.

This was made possible through a project in 2020 known as Paws for Pets.

The nursing staff would step away from the bedside to have their heart rate, blood pressure, & stress levels tested before and after spending 15 minutes with therapy dogs, or with just a break (the control group).

Lindsey Wilson, an MPD Specialist, said that “Both decreased the stress, but the dogs significantly had an impact on their stress level.” Wilson continued, “We thought we should get more therapy dogs or therapy support animals to our nursing staff, so we this week were coordinating therapy dogs for all three of our campuses and one of my directors was like, ‘I can get you therapy horses.'”

Wilson believes therapy horses can be effective because of their calming presence and the fact that their nurses are stepping into the sunshine.

“Nurses are a special kind of a breed, we put others first and we have a very hard time taking our breaks and finding our own rest and its really important to take care of ourselves before we take care of others because you can’t give what you don’t have. Supporting nurses and letting them know ‘It is okay to take a short break and interact with therapy animals.'”