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Salon Rx Lifts Patient Spirits

Salon RxA specialty team of four practitioners with more than 75 years of combined experience operates four days a week on The University of Kansas Hospital's main floor.

The beauty team at Salon Rx – co-owners Sarah Goldbeck and Samantha McClanahan, and stylists Erica Carter and Beada Rosser – offers decidedly different patient care. The independently owned, full-service salon has operated across from the cafeteria since soon after the "new hospital" opened in 1979. Hospital and medical center staff make up at least half the salon's clientele.

"I truly think there's something about having your hair and nails done that just makes you feel better," Goldbeck said. "Some patients live hours away. Others are hospitalized for weeks or months. These folks are ecstatic to find out they can get a haircut or color, manicure or pedicure – without leaving the hospital."

What's more, for a small up-charge, patients can receive many of the salon's services, such as a haircut, style and nail treatments, without leaving their rooms.

Though not hospital employees, the Salon Rx team firmly adheres to the guiding principle of putting the patient first.

"We'll do anything to accommodate our patients," McClanahan said. "We'll work around them so they can be as comfortable as they possibly can."

Sarah GoldbeckJudy Newell, manager of Missy's Boutique at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, co-owned the salon from 1975, when it was in the medical center's student union, through 1989. She hired Goldbeck, 19 and fresh from beauty school. More than two decades later, Newell trained her as a mastectomy fitter/wig fitter at Missy's, where Goldbeck now works part time.

Like Goldbeck, McClanahan and Carter have spent most of their careers at Salon Rx.

"It's a very humbling job and just so rewarding to be able to help people feel better," McClanahan said. "That's why we've all stayed so many years – for the love of the patients and their families."

Salon Rx can be reached at 913-588-2518, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, late appointments by request.