Healthcare worker well-being and resilience summit: Three big ideas

Hospital Safety Insider, October 29, 2020

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By Christopher Cheney

Last week, nearly 400 healthcare professionals participated in a national summit on healthcare worker well-being and resilience.

Research indicates that nearly half of physicians are experiencing burnout symptoms, and a study published in October 2018 found that burnout increases the odds of physician involvement in patient safety incidents, unprofessionalism, and lower patient satisfaction.

Last week’s Summit on Promoting Well-Being and Resilience in Healthcare Professionals included three presentations on coalitions, programs, and initiatives designed to address healthcare worker burnout.

National coalition

Victor Dzau, MD, president of the National Academy of Medicine provided an update on the organization’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience.

Formed in 2017, the collaborative has launched several initiatives and resources, including resources to support clinician health and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, a clinician well-being knowledge hub, publications, and events and webinars.

Dzau reflected on the accomplishments of the action collaborative over the past four years.

“We have convened key players and entities to address burnout. That includes many stakeholder organizations, many commitment statements, and many activities. We have created webinars and convened a summit of CEOs to affirm the importance of clinician well-being and to look for solutions. We have created an art form of expression that is a gallery that has been presented across the country. We have collected data and conducted analysis. We have been active, with 65 member organizations. This is collective action, where we cannot make progress alone.”

Pandemic as catalyst

Perry Gee, PhD, RN, nurse scientist at Salt Lake City, Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare, discussed how the health system seized on the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to launch a bevy of well-being and resilience programs for healthcare professionals. “We had to react. We had to implement programs that were in development or in pilot phases,” he said.

Intermountain launched several programs:

  • A major campaign for marketing and communications to provide transparent information for caregivers
  • A compassionate connections program to help healthcare professionals learn to speak and listen about difficult challenges such as changes in patient visitation during the pandemic
  • A 24/7 call-a-chaplain program for family members, patients, and caregivers
  • Wellness rounds by health system leaders that include bringing a cart or basket with treats to medical units that provide an opportunity talk with caregivers
  • Facilitated peer support groups
  • Checklists such as a going-home checklist and family safety checklist
  • Respite rooms close to COVID-19 treatment centers that are manned by employee assistance program staff
  • A crisis response program developed by the EAP to provide a range of services including psychological first aid
  • Daily virtual mindfulness sessions that are led by experts in behavioral health and the EAP

“The pandemic gave us an opportunity to implement programs that we had been considering, and we are going to continue to circle back and make improvements on those programs. We quickly learned what our caregivers needed, and we reacted to adapt our programs to those needs,” Gee said.

Strengthening relationships

Diana McMahon, MSN, RN, director for professional practice at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center—James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, discussed her organization’s approach to relationship-based care.

“Relationship-based care is the conceptual framework and roadmap that we use to stay focused on our mission. Relationship-based care focuses on four caring relationships: care of the patient and the family, care of self, care of colleagues, and care of the community. It provides consistent coherence in a world that is ever changing. What COVID-19 has taught us is that when everything is changing, relationships bring stability. The pandemic has also taught us that being part of a team builds security and decreases stress,” she said.

Examples of programs developed to foster relationships include relationship-based resilience. The one-day retreat is designed to introduce staff to the four key relationships of relationship-based care and to learn how to leverage relationships to increase personal and organizational resilience.

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care? editor at HealthLeaders.

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