Nurturing the Backbone of Healthcare: Prioritizing Nurse Well-being

Jan 25, 2024

In the demanding world of healthcare, the well-being of our nurses is not just a concern—it’s a priority. The alarming statistics on burnout and mental health issues within the Registered Nurse community are a clarion call for change. Leaders like Anita Girard, DNP, RN, CNL, CPHQ, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, emphasize the importance of creating a beacon of hope in these challenging times.

While acknowledging prevalent pain points such as pay structures and nurse-to-patient ratios, this article delves into the foundational steps healthcare systems can take to foster a culture of wellness and provide tangible solutions.

 

Creating a Culture of Wellness in Healthcare

 

Investment in Resources: A Long-term Commitment

Investing in wellness resources is not just about expenditure; it’s about valuing our staff. Despite financial constraints post-COVID, the cost of not investing in our healthcare workforce far outweighs the initial investment. Leaders like Julie Oehlert, DNP, RN, Chief Experience Officer at Vident Health, caution against the “scarcity mentality”, highlighting the essential need to inspire and care for staff, thereby ensuring they can extend the same level of care to patients.

Accessibility: Making Wellness a Seamless Part of Life

Ensuring easy access to wellness resources is crucial. From strategically scheduled group activities to user-friendly wellness tools, making resources accessible means nurses can focus on self-care without adding to their already extensive to-do list. As Amelia Anderson Wright, RN, CCRN, Clinical Team Lead at Duke Regional Intensive Care Unit, points out, committing to self-care should not feel like an additional burden.

Innovative Solutions: Thinking Outside the Box

Healthcare institutions are getting creative with wellness offerings. From yoga mats and support groups to tranquility rooms and game rooms, the approach to nurse well-being is holistic and varied. Cedars-Sinai’s adoption of Jean Watson’s Science of Caring Theory and Duke’s REAL Talk sessions are prime examples of innovative strategies to address the emotional and psychological needs of nursing staff.

Intentionality: Knowing Your Staff

True advocacy requires a deep understanding of the individuals being supported. Leaders must strive to know their nurses on a personal level, fostering an environment where individual needs are recognized and addressed. Giving Unit Managers more autonomy, as suggested by Holly Wei, PhD, RN, CPN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Assistant Dean at the University of Louisville School of Nursing, can lead to more personalized and effective support.

 

Championing Cultural Heroes

A heartfelt acknowledgment goes to the nurses and advocates who proactively uplift morale. Initiatives like Tara Rynders’ The Clinic, Hilary Camino’s songwriting workshops, and Emily Silverman, MD’s The Nocturnists, exemplify the extraordinary ways in which the nursing community is banding together to address burnout and promote well-being through creativity and shared experiences.

 

Conclusion: A Non-negotiable Investment

The path to supporting our nurses may be diverse, but the commitment is unwavering. Healthcare systems have a moral imperative to invest in staff-focused initiatives. The investment in nurse well-being is not just worthwhile—it’s essential. As we navigate through these trying times, let’s remember that supporting the heart of healthcare is our collective responsibility.

 

For more resources and innovative strategies to support nurse well-being, explore these resources:

 

Nurturing our nurses is a commitment we must all uphold, to ensure a healthier, more resilient healthcare future.

 

 

Author

Becca Garvin 

Vice President, GQR Healthcare