We believe all human beings deserve to feel seen, heard, and cared for.
A Letter from Our Director
I began combining my passions for the arts and nursing in 2009 after my sister went, without any warning, from being a healthy 26-year-old who loved playing roller derby and being a mom to her young daughter to being in an acute coma. As the nurse and oldest in the family, I was grateful to be able to step in and care for her. I took a semester off from my MFA program to move into my sisters’ hospital room and live by her side – bathing her and helping her relearn how to eat and speak.
Although these were some of the most difficult times for my sister and I, this experience ushered in some very intimate and special moments that only suffering can bring. At night, I would put on music and dance around her hospital room to make her laugh. I saw the positive impact of play and movement in the midst of traumatic experiences, and how deeply joy and grief are interwoven in our sufferings. After this experience, I returned to my graduate studies and created You & Me, a thesis performance that was a direct reflection of this special time with my sister. During You & Me all guests experience one on one in-person intimate creative experiences and a sit-down family style dinner that bring us all into a closer understanding of our collective humanity and healing. I thank my sister for her bravery and for showing me how healing happens in relationships.
In 2015 I had an experience where I became a patient for the first time. I almost lost my life that evening in the Emergency Room. I remember being passed out completely as they called a Code Yellow, the code you call before a Code Blue before your heart stops. A nurse grabbed my hand and said, “I am here, and you are going to be ok.” that moment changed the entire course of my life.
In that moment I was reminded of the impact we have as nurses and healthcare providers; of the joy and sacred calling that comes from caring for another human being in the midst of suffering.
When I recovered I began researching patient outcomes. I learned that compassion fatigue and burnout were stealing the joy that comes from caring from another human being, and because of this, our patients were suffering – specifically Black, Indigenous and patients of color. This is when The Clinic was born.
I directed our first performance, First, Do No Harm, alongside co-directors Lia Bonfilio and Jadd Tank and led our first workshop at Rose Medical Center alongside co-director Clare Hammoor. When COVID-19 hit, the demand for burnout prevention measures for our healthcare workers grew, as did The Clinic team. Now, our brilliant collaborators – theatre makers, wellness leaders, visual artists, community organizers, public health advocates – now have the privilege of working with healthcare systems across the United States and Europe to help change the conversation and improve relationships for our healthcare workers as the world reckons with what it truly means to be cared for.
Thank you for joining the movement. I’m so glad you’re here.
– Tara Rynders, RN, MFA, BSN, BA
Founder & Executive Artistic Director
Our mission is founded upon on the central theme that ALL human beings deserve to be seen, heard, and cared for, without discrimination.
We believe in creating arts and play-based offerings that allow for disruption, wonder, and immersive environments for our healthcare workers to reflect, connect and collectively care for themselves and others.
We believe when our healthcare providers are seen, heard, and cared for, then our patients will be as well.
We believe that caring for healthcare providers includes looking at personal bias and dismantling individual and systemic racism in hospital settings.
We believe resiliency is not something healthcare providers need to work harder at to obtain, but that our healthcare systems must work harder to create more resilient systems and processes for our healthcare providers to thrive in.
We believe in bringing joy, wonder, and beauty into as many interactions as possible between humans in the hospital setting.
At The Clinic, we work to:
Raise awareness and fight the epidemic of compassion fatigue and nursing burnout to help caregivers rediscover the inherent joy of caring for another human being.
Create safe, trauma informed spaces that allow for reflection, processing, softening, and integrating of our emotions selves.
Use the arts and play to highlight the incredible work that nurses do that is often overlooked and undervalued.
Help nurses identify and implement self and collective care.
Break down hierarchies in the hospital setting.
Help identify, de-escalate and decrease workplace violence.
Create community and a sense of belonging directly within the systems, recognizing that systems must be changed for lasting, sustainable changes.
Help healthcare institutions decrease hiring turnover by increasing joy and a sense of belonging in the workplace.
At The Clinic, we strive to create a safe, communal space for artists, nurses, patients, and the community to commune together through the arts.
Through live performance, dance, immersive theater, and art-based workshops for healthcare providers, The Clinic desires to cultivate a sense of wonder and joy through the arts. We believe that the arts bring healing into the hospital and that this leads to better patient outcomes in the hospital setting, decreased compassion fatigue, and decreased nursing burn-out.
The Clinic utilizes the See Me as a Person Framework that brings curiosity, wonder, and attunement to the bedside and offers nurses and patients a chance to create an authentic connection through the use of the arts.