Photography by Sarah Oden
Fellow Arkansans – neighbors, colleagues and friends – are sharing a light of peace, kindness and generosity that makes The Natural State a little brighter. Inviting Arkansas and Methodist Family Health celebrate individuals who illuminate our community with goodness. Nominate someone today for a future feature that SHINES.
Upon arriving at Methodist Family Health’s Behavioral Hospital in Maumelle, Peggy Henderson escorted the Inviting Arkansas team to a lush garden. The spacious outdoor area, adorned with handcrafted items created by patients, featured a bountiful fruit and vegetable garden that is part of the recreational therapy program. As director of nursing, Peggy explains the benefits of this space for her patients. “Not only is gardening good for your physical health, gardening has been found as a positive way to release stress and anxiety while teaching confidence and pride. When kids come out to the fresh air and get their hands in the soil, they quite literally become grounded. They are then able to identify and process their emotions while self-soothing in healthy way.” Unique therapy programming and experienced staff like Peggy comprise the comprehensive continuum of care offered by Methodist Family Health.
However, Peggy’s job responsibilities range beyond the scope of nursing. A team member since its inception, she has not only served as director of nursing for nearly two decades, but as a confidant and friend to everyone at the hospital. Staff will attest Peggy knows everyone on campus – patient or employee. “You can’t say that for many facilities. You’re not invisible here; you matter,” Peggy emphasizes. The 60-bed hospital specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents from three to 17 years old who are in need of specialized psychiatric, behavioral and emotional care. From acute to sub-acute patient programs, the hospital provides the most intensive and compassionate level of care.
Kelli Reep, director of communications for Methodist Family Health, says of Peggy, “I watched as a young boy, who was maybe 11 or 12 years old, got discharged from his acute stay at our hospital. Before he left, he asked to see Peggy one more time. I know that to be more the norm than the exception, and for a child to feel the love and value from an adult in only a few days speaks to the impact Peggy has. She is the embodiment of our mission: to provide the best possible care to those who may need our help.”
“I like to think we provide services for future success,” Peggy explains. She has utilized this mission in her own life. In fact, while she was putting herself through nursing school, she was also raising her children as a single parent – committed and driven to improve the situation. “I would work an overnight shift on a Friday. Then, work overtime and come back for a Saturday shift. It was hard work, but I was striving to better myself and family,” she explains. Today, Peggy is still available for second shifts and weekends when the hospital doesn’t have enough nurses to care for patients. She is undeniably a stabilizing force for Methodist Behavioral Hospital.
Methodist Behavioral Hospital is staffed by board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists; skilled nurses; recreational, art and pet therapists; a registered dietician, behavioral instructors, social workers and physicians. However, there is always a need for other individuals like Peggy. Reflecting on her 40 years in nursing, 20 of which she has spent at Methodist Behavioral Hospital, Peggy reminds herself, patients and community, “Whatever your situation in life is, it doesn’t mean that is where you’re going to stay.”
Sponsored by Methodist Family Health
Nominations accepted at Foundation@MethodistFamily.org
methodistfamily.org | #ShareTheLightandSHINE