By Andrew Mellin, Vice President, Medical Director, RedBrick Health
Work stress, compassion fatigue, emotional exhaustion, moral distress and burnout. Is this what your care teams are experiencing?
Talking with my physician and nurse colleagues, I’m no longer surprised to hear them discuss the high levels of stress and ongoing challenges in their jobs and how they are looking for a change in their workplace to improve their overall well-being. Providing healthcare is extremely stressful. Studies have shown a number of causes of stress such as interpersonal relationships, the nature of nursing, the lack of autonomy, high patient volumes and simply the nature of providing care to patients and families.1, 2 It is clear that many individuals benefit from external support to learn techniques to cope with stress and develop mindfulness and resiliency.
Health systems are recognizing that the overall health of their organization and their ability to fulfill their mission of delivering the highest quality of patient care is directly tied to the health and well-being of their care team. I recently had the pleasure of hosting a webinar with Lauren Chestnut from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Dan Buckalew from Main Line Health on how they each address stress in their respective health systems.
These organizations have adopted the following experiential and evidence-based best practices to deploy comprehensive stress-reduction programs:
- Develop a multi-dimensional approach that provides choice to employees, including digital tools, coaching and environmental support.
- Recognize that only programs and activities focused on reducing stress and increasing resiliency are likely to have a meaningful impact on overall stress levels.
- Offer group activities for social support and individual programs to help people on their own time.
- Enlist leadership support to model mindfulness and purposeful work.
- Empower and encourage a culture in which individuals can bring their best selves to work.
An informal survey during the webinar revealed that most attendees from health systems across the country recognize stress as a key issue. However, they also expressed that they don’t yet have a comprehensive program in place.
If your organization also doesn’t have a comprehensive stress management and resiliency strategy in place, don’t wait to address this issue. Addressing stress at health systems is much more than employee engagement and well-being—it’s about patient safety and ongoing organizational success.
To learn more about how to address stress and increase resiliency in your organization, I encourage you to read the Caring for your Care Team: How to reduce stress and increase resiliency in your workforce paper and listen to our Caring for your Care Team webinar.
1Moustaka, Å., & Constantinidis, T. C. (2010). Sources and effects of Work-related stress in nursing. Health Science Journal, 4(4).
2Balch, C. M., & Shanafelt, T. (2011). Combating stress and burnout in surgical practice: a review. Thoracic surgery clinics, 21(3), 417-430