The Singing Hairdresser
Written by Knees and Hips on June 15, 2013
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…was blind but now I see.” As she sings the well-known hymn of redemption, beautician Necole Suttles is opening eyes to the healing power of touch, while serenading with the healing power of music. Known as “The Singing Hairdresser,” Necole not only provides a makeover to clean up and enhance a patient’s external appearance, she creates an environment of relaxation and pleasure, for a unique healing experience found at Howard Memorial Hospital.
The Orthopedic Joint Center, a service of Frank R. Howard Memorial Hospital, set out to create an all-encompassing program for patients who undergo joint replacement procedures. From the pre-operation classes to the coaches who cheer on patients during their critical post-op physical therapy, the staff at HMH realizes they are treating not just the replaced joint, but the whole patient.
Luxuries like hair washing and styling, and head, neck and face massages may at first seem out of place in a hospital, but these services actually coincide with the well-respected Planetree model of patient-centered care. While these services started with the OJC, the hospital at large has now adopted several special services, including healing touch therapy, weekly flower deliveries, and yes, the Singing Hairdresser.
These special luxuries “leave patients bragging to friends that they felt like they were at a spa!” says Suttles. “Most people tell me how much just having their hair washed makes them feel so much better, and then, the head, neck and face massage relaxes them, some so much they say they may fall asleep!”
Male patients in particular find themselves surprised by how much they like the treatment of getting their hair washed with a massage—something they may have never experienced before. Some have noted that they now understand why the ladies so enjoy a trip to the spa!
As the owner and manager of her own styling salon, Suttles says “my goal is to help every person I connect with each day feel better or look better in some way, be it by an uplifting word or a positive experience.” This approach was a natural fit for the objective of healing the whole patient, shared by the HMH family.
Suttles believes she is part of something special in her role as the Singing Hairdresser: “I’m proud to be part of the Howard Hospital team everyone raves about!”
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