Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Children's Health as Children Health. The error has been corrected.
Health care staff are at the front lines of addressing the Covid-19 epidemic. Many are stepping far outside of their clinical specialty to meet patient needs, with fewer resources at their disposal. And, on top of their day-to-day work, many are concerned about their personal safety and that of their loved ones.
Starter list: How you can support frontline staff during the Covid-19 crisis
While clinicians are already an especially resilient workforce, they are at high risk of burnout as the epidemic stretches on for weeks or months. With the peak surge still on the horizon for most of the United States, it's important that organizations proactively introduce or reinforce support structures now to maintain staff well-being.
To learn about how organizations are ramping up support for staff, we turned to one of the nation's leading organizations in frontline resilience and engagement: Children's Health. Read on to see how they are proactively bringing their staff together to have critical conversations about Covid-19—and their advice about how others can do the same.
Children's Health uses their RISE framework, which stands for Resilience, Integrated Ethics, Staff Support and Engagement, to guide their system’s approach. Stacy Smith, senior director of integrated ethics and conflict transformation at Children's Health, leads the RISE Program. The program's team includes Elaine Beardsley (Resilience), Jessica Roumillat (Integrated Ethics), and Leslie Leach (Staff Support). When the Covid-19 epidemic started to take hold in the United States, the RISE leaders converted their ongoing work—including their on-demand moral distress consults—to a virtual format. And, to ensure resilience remains a top priority for the system, the RISE team is in regular contact with the organization's senior leaders.
Recognizing the impact Covid-19 would have on their clinical and non-clinical staff, the team bolstered their current offerings by facilitating virtual Covid-19 forums tailored to specific small groups throughout the health system. These forums were designed to create a virtual space for employees to collectively process their emotions during this time and re-connect with their internal resilience.
As Smith said, “Moral distress will be there. We can’t take it away, however, we can create spaces for staff to talk about it and mitigate it.”
The team created Covid-19 forums with three goals in mind: give staff a safe space to process their thoughts and feelings; connect staff to their own internal resilience factors; and surface potential system barriers to resilience. Below, are the central tenets of their approach:
Leaders are understandably focused on supporting frontline clinician's immediate emotional needs related to Covid-19. The Children's Health RISE team recommends organizations keep a few blind spots in mind to create a holistic resilience strategy:
Questions for the RISE team? Email email@example.com.
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