Most people don't associate medical education for professionals with salons and spas. But for the last year, Mario's International Spa & Hotel in Aurora has offered continuing education courses at its Spa Sanctuary new age wellness center.
Laura Pajestka, a one-time registered nurse who serves as clinical director of the spa's continuing education program, has worked with the Ohio Nurses Association to develop seven single-session classes. Nurses may take these classes to complete the 24 credit hours of continuing education required by the state every two years to renew their licenses. A series of classes on aromatherapy has also been approved by the state board that licenses massage therapists.
All courses are taught by professionals licensed and credentialed in their respective fields --- doctors, nurses, a pharmacist, a psychiatrist.
Topics include deep breathing techniques, natural alternatives to medication, reflexology, massage therapy, reiki, even premenstrual dysfunction disorder. Pajestka is working to increase the number of accredited classes, which range in length from three to eight-and-a-half hours and are offered monthly, usually evenings and Saturdays or by appointment for large groups.
Another eight nonaccredited courses, such as Care for the Caregiver, are also offered.
Pajestka says fewer hospitals and universities are offering continuing education courses, so more nurses are relying on independent companies to fulfill their requirements. And more nurses are becoming interested in alternative methods to reduce pain and anxiety in patients.
"Some of the techniques that we teach here can be applied very simply, and they're proven to work," Pajestka says. "A little bit of reiki can calm somebody down, some therapeutic touch and massage."
Other techniques can help ease the agony of a muscle spasm or migraine.
"Drugs have a lot of side effects," Pajestka says. "People don't like feeling spaced out when they take a pain pill. They need to function."
As most nurses will attest, they need the soothing environment provided by the Spa Sanctuary as much as they need the continuing education credits.
"There's an international nursing shortage," Pajestka says. "They're working in very critical situations, very stressful situations, and there's not enough of them to go around."
Classes also include a massage, reiki or reflexology treatment.
"We not only teach you about taking care of yourself and others, we also take care of you," Pajestka says.
How to reach: Mario's International Spa & Hotel, (330) 563-9171