Healthcare is a difficult industry. There are a LOT of emotions associated with each experience, from the high highs of saving a life to the low lows of losing one. Healthcare professionals, especially doctors, nurses, and other direct care staff, are not only entrusted with safeguarding the physical health of the patient but their feelings as well. However, who is there to support the staff as they go through these same situations? We are all human, so the happiness and sorrows of any healthcare encounter are felt by all parties involved and need to be equally recognized and respected. With an industry-wide shift toward patient satisfaction and quality outcomes driven by value-based purchasing, perhaps there should also be a heightened focus on employee health and engagement to promote a better balance.
Recently, an ALTIUS client implemented a program centered around enhanced employee support. While other hospitals and health systems may offer similar services, this organization took it a step further by centralizing these employee benefits through a dedicated department. There is specially trained staff available to provide emotional support for employees struggling with job-related stressors. The area is also equipped with small rooms that offer the quiet and privacy needed to escape the “pain” of certain events. Whether employees are dealing with the backlash of an angry family member or the loss of a patient after a long battle with cancer, the goal is for them to have somewhere to turn to be able to process their feelings and heal. One of the key elements that set this program apart is the role that the hospital’s leadership takes. Executives frequently round to check-in on employees, stopping to talk or delivering baskets of treats to boost morale and promote a positive work environment. Unlike EAPs or other comparable services, the staff is being directly supported by their co-workers which adds a unique, personal touch that leaves a lasting impact. Forward-thinking concepts like this deserve to be highlighted and shared to encourage other hospitals and health systems to consider similar approaches within their organizations.
“There are moments when troubles enter our lives, and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them, we will understand why they were there.”
– Paulo Coelho
To learn more about the pressures and emotional strain that the healthcare industry can place on its employees, especially nurses, click on the link here to read another interesting article. It may help to put into perspective the need for designated emotional support programs in all hospitals and health systems. For more information, or to discuss this strategy further, please reach out to ALTIUS directly!