Implementing an Aromatherapy Program to Enhance the Patient Experience


To implement an aromatherapy program to enhance the patient experience by providing a therapeutic environment while complying with Joint Commission standards at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.


The Iowa Model Revised: Evidence-Based Practice to Promote Excellence in Health Care served as a guide in identifying an opportunity for improvement, assembling a taskforce, conducting a literature review, determining the needed practice changes and a timeline for each task, and integrating the program into practice. On June 1, 2022, an aromatherapy program was implemented at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. Pre-implementation electronic surveys were sent to registered nurses that measured their knowledge, beliefs, experience, and feasibility of using aromatherapy on their nursing unit. Demographic data were also collected.


Of approximately 4,000 RNs at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, 636 completed the survey. 9.6% of respondents were advanced practice providers, 3.2% were assistant nurse managers, 5.7% were clinical educators, 11.2% were nurse managers, and 70.3% were staff nurses. The most interest in aromatherapy was found in medsurg nursing units (23.6%), followed by the intensive care units (16.9%), operating room (16.2%), emergency department (5.2%), post-anesthesia care units (4.5%), and behavioral health (2.4%). 68.4% of participants would like to offer essential oil recommendations or therapies to their patients; 23.4% neither agreed nor disagreed. The data showed an interest in an aromatherapy program.


An aromatherapy program will improve the patient experience and allow nurses to work within their scope of practice while improving patient outcomes by providing a therapeutic environment. The ability for nurses to work in their scope of practice can lead to greater job satisfaction as they will feel pride and a sense of accomplishment. The Joint Commission requirements will be met by offering non-pharmacological modalities to patients. Patient satisfaction and overall health will increase, and patient costs for prescription medications will decrease. Measuring the use of aromatherapy and patient satisfaction are essential in the future to determine the program's success.