DiversityNursing Blog

Chief Wellness Officer - More Healthcare Organizations Are Adding CWO’s To Their C-Suite

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Oct 08, 2021 @ 03:06 PM

wellnessEven before the pandemic, healthcare providers experienced burnout and other negative mental health issues. Now more than ever, it is critical health systems take steps to support their staff's well-being.

Recently, more healthcare organizations have started to hire Chief Wellness Officers (CWO), as a strategy to address burnout, mental health, and compassion fatigue.

Jonathan Ripp MD, MPH, Chief Wellness Officer at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said there were only a handful of Chief Wellness Officer positions when he was appointed to the role in May 2018. “There has been at least a dozen more who have been named in the past year, and several more places that are looking to create the position,” said Dr. Ripp. “I would not be surprised if, 10 years from now, it's commonplace for most large organizations to have a Chief Wellness Officer or equivalent, taking this challenge on, and doing so in a way that is effective.”

The ultimate goal of this role is to aid system-wide changes that enable staff to practice in a culture that prioritizes and promotes mental health and well-being.

The CWO is responsible for measuring well-being across their organization. Then, they create and implement wellness programs that address the current environment causing burnout and stress.

The hiring of a CWO is not a remedy all on its own. The CWO works in collaboration with other leaders and staff to prioritize well-being and would ultimately lower costs and improve patient care.

According to Beckers Hospital Review, burnout and depression result in major costs to health systems due to an increase in medical errors, reduced quality of care, and turnover. Research has found that for every dollar invested in wellness, hospitals can see a $3 to $6 return on investment.

Medical Schools are also following the hiring trend.

According to Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, medical students are more likely to experience burnout and depression than peers on different career paths. To confront the challenge head-on, they appointed their first Chief Wellness Officer, Dr. Kelly Holder.

Holder said, "Mental and emotional wellness is essential to complete health. We simply cannot ignore this fact. I view my role as another way to serve the students, faculty and physicians in Brown’s medical school, and aid them in not just meeting their immediate self-care needs but also creating and developing plans that can help them learn more about how to take care of themselves in a way that's sustainable for a profession that demands a lot."

“Wellness and self-care is more important than ever before. These next few years will be critical for health care workers as we address the mental and physical burdens from COVID-19,” said George Washington University's Chief Wellness Officer, Lorenzo Norris, MD.

Hopefully this position sticks around, even after the pandemic passes, because burnout and mental health have been issues in the healthcare field all along.

Topics: mental health, compassion fatigue, burnout, hospitals, Nurse burnout, healthcare organizations, frontline workers, front line workers mental health, compassion fatigue in nursing, C-Suite, Chief Wellness Officers, CWO

Nurse Retention Requires More Than Good Bonuses

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Oct 05, 2021 @ 03:37 PM

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The pandemic has magnified the Nursing shortage and healthcare organizations are struggling to not only recruit Nurses but also retain them. Bonuses are nice, but Nurses need more than that. They want to feel valued and safe in their work environment.

Healthcare organizations must ensure Nurses are equipped with resources and the support they need to provide quality care. Hospitals must invest in initiatives that attract and keep Nurses, such as:

  • Developing An Employee First Culture

Dr. Linda Shell, DNP, MA, BSN, DNS-CT, Chief Learning Officer suggests Nurse leaders cultivate an “Employee First Culture” approach in their facilities.

“An Employee First Culture is built on the concept that employees are the best asset of any company, and they need to be encouraged and appreciated,” says Dr. Shell. “When appreciation goes up in an organization, quality tends to go up. I really believe that for us as Nurses, the more we can do to create a positive work environment and develop our leadership skills, the more opportunities we are going to have to improve the quality of care that we provide every day for patients, as well as the residents that we serve.”

  • Staff Recognition Programs

"A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected." This quote has been scientifically proven to be factual. 

According to research, giving thanks can have important implications for encouraging actions that promote cooperation.

Whether it be a hand written note, or a brief one on one meeting, managers should take the time to recognize the hard work Nurses are putting in.

Recognizing Nurses on their birthdays and work anniversaries is a simple way for organizations to show appreciation for their staff.

Celebrating Nurses with a themed party or gift bags is another way to give thanks.

According to Nursing Management, realistically, quarterly recognition will suffice for larger units; however, if you have a small unit, monthly recognition is recommended.

  • Mental Health Resources

Many Nurses are experiencing severe, adverse mental health effects as a result of the pandemic, and a lot of them are considering leaving the profession entirely.

Organizations must support employee self-care by establishing evidence-based preventive strategies, providing mental health resources, and demonstrating that leadership supports and prioritizes mental health and well-being.

Some health systems are hiring a Chief Wellness Officer (CWO) to support their wellness initiatives.

Dr. Maureen “Mo” Leffler, the first enterprise-wide CWO at Nemours Children’s Health said, “The goal of the Chief Wellness Officer is to promote professional well-being, which is characterized by having everything in place in both the individual and in the system, so those two things work together optimally. When we do that, we can provide the highest quality of care, the safest care, the best care. We can derive meaning in the work we’re doing.”

  • Tuition Assistance Programs

Tuition reimbursement is becoming a popular way for hospitals to attract and retain quality Nurses, especially in areas where demand is high. 

These programs are designed to help Nurses continue their education by relieving some of their financial stress.

  • Good Communication

Routine unit or individual staff meetings should be held to discuss any issues or concerns. Nurses want to feel heard. So it's important management truly listens to what they have to say and then set up action plans and follow up.  

  • Flexible Work Hours

According to a recent McKinsey survey, Nurses that experienced more flexibility in hours and scheduling during the pandemic were highly interested in retaining that flexibility going forward. For Nurses who indicated plans to stay in their current direct patient care role, flexibility in hours and shifts was an influential factor.

Bottom line, health systems must prove to their Nurses that they are Valued, Appreciated, Heard, and Supported if they want to keep them. There are thousands of Nursing opportunities out there and you must work to retain the Nurses you have. This is just as important as recruiting Nurses.

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Topics: retention rate, healthcare leaders, nursing careeer, nurse recruitment, nurse retention, frontline workers, retain nurses, hospital retention rates, nurse hiring

Designer Thanks Nurses With Quarantine Art Project

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Dec 11, 2020 @ 12:34 PM

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Rebecca Moses, the fashion designer and artist painted 46 portraits of Mount Sinai's Nurses and named the exhibition “Thank You, Mount Sinai Nurses.”.

The large-scale portraits can be seen at Mount Sinai’s Guggenheim Pavilion on upper Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

2020 is designated the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

“To have all of our Nurses traumatized in the Year of The Nurse and not do anything about it, it was literally keeping me up at night,” Linda Valentino, the Vice President and Chief Nursing officer at Mount Sinai Health System said.

Rebecca Moses, mostly known for her fantastical and fashionable drawings teamed up with Ms. Valentino and Linda Levy, the President of the Fragrance Foundation and came up with the idea for the art project.

The designer would paint the Nurses' portraits and donate the original artworks to the hospital to be featured in an exhibition. Each Nurse would also receive a print. Linda Levy would donate 5,000 fragrance and beauty products, all filed under self-care, to those whose job is to care for others.

 

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After labor and delivery Nurse, Vanessa Joseph saw her portrait she said she was “blown away that someone paid attention to me and wanted to paint me. I’m just a Nurse.”

Joseph said, “Sometimes you feel like you’re in the trenches. We put on the full P.P.E. and no one can even recognize you anymore. I’m just trying to guess what Rebecca saw, and it’s so much life and vibrancy. It gives people hope that we’re going to get back to that again.”

Only women were chosen for this project, it's nothing personal against men. Moses simply stated “I don’t draw men. It’s not my strength. I love men, but I don’t draw them well.”

This is a thoughtful and remarkable collaboration to honor the Nurses at Mount Sinai. Nurses all over the world are going through an extremely challenging time. We applaud all efforts in recognizing the invaluable service, professionalism, and kindness all Nurses give every day. Thank you!

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Topics: nurse art, thank you nurses, frontline workers, frontline healthcare workers, Mount Sinai, Rebecca Moses

New Ways Hospitals Are Helping Their Frontline Workers Deal With Stress

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Oct 19, 2020 @ 02:59 PM

nursebreakFrontline healthcare workers face stressors during normal times, but especially now during a pandemic and hospitals are finding new ways to help their staff cope. 

Recently, University Hospitals in Ohio announced they would be trying out a 10-month pilot program that provides sleep pods for their teams. Doctors, Nurses and staff in the UH Cleveland Medical Center Emergency Department will have access to two HOHM units as a space to safely recharge.

Each 43.5 square-foot pod is designed to block out sound and features a twin-sized bed, a privacy and sound-blocking curtain, charging stations, and a tablet to control reservations. 

“Our UH Cleveland Medical Center Emergency Department frontline caregivers have been working tirelessly for months to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Robyn Strosaker, MD,, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Chief Operating Officer. “In the midst of all this trauma and stress, we’ve continuously looked for new ways to support our team, and HOHM sleep pods are a way we can help address their wellbeing.”

Some hospitals are making design changes to their break rooms as a way to try and help healthcare workers manage their stress throughout the day. 

Nurses may be reluctant to take breaks especially during times of crisis. But taking breaks during your shift can help prevent burnout. So when a Nurse does decide to take a break, there should be a space where they can fully decompress and have time to gather their thoughts and recharge. 

Research has found strong evidence between exposure to natural environments and recovery from physiological stress and mental fatigue. Break rooms are becoming a green space with plants and images on the walls of natural landscapes. Create a sitting space with cushioned chairs or ottomans by windows that have a nice view outside. Offer the option of listening to calming music or nature sounds inside the break room. 

Hospitals are also offering time for their staff to spend with support animals. 

Nonprofit organization Canine Companions for Independence provided Jordy, a lab/golden retriever cross to help frontline workers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. 

“The science confirms what we already know, pets provide comfort and support during hard times,” said Jessica Lacanlale, MSN, Trauma Program Manager at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. “The stress of caring for patients and working long hours is intense; but spending a little time with Jordy lifts my spirits and helps me get through the long days.”

Health Systems like Yale New Haven Health are offering confidential well-being check-in programs. This offers employees an opportunity to meet with an expert social worker or clinician one-on-one to discuss their needs and access resources to manage stress and improve well-being.

“People often downplay their own needs, saying ‘I’m OK’ when asked how they are doing,” said Javi Alvarado, YNHHS’ director of social work and co-chair of the WELD Council. “These visits create an opportunity to be better than ‘OK’ and truly grow from recent challenges.” 

During this pandemic, it is critical hospitals and health systems recognize what stress looks like and takes steps to help their staff cope with it. Equally as important is that healthcare workers know where they can go for help. This means internal communications to staff is key to express your awareness of the stress and the assistance being offered.

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Topics: coping, stress, hospital staff, healthcare professionals, Nurse burnout, managing stress, stress management, frontline workers, frontline healthcare workers, pandemic

Nurses Invitation to Participate in National COVID-19 CHAMPS Study of Frontline Workers

Posted by Villanova University

Thu, Jul 23, 2020 @ 11:43 AM

CHAMPSThe M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing (FCN) at Villanova University invites nurses to participate in CHAMPS, the Caring About Health for All Study villanova.edu/CHAMPS. CHAMPS is one of a few national studies designed to understand the immediate and long-term effects of caring for COVID-19 patients on the health, lives and careers of all frontline workers, including nurses. We seek colleagues across the spectrum of nursing who share our concerns for frontline workers to join us in participating in CHAMPS to better understand and meet their emergent health needs.

The FCN launched CHAMPS in mid-May 2020, recognizing the importance of seizing the moment to understand how the pandemic has impacted the physical, social and behavioral health of those caring for COVID-19 patients. The initial study survey takes less than 20 minutes to complete. This study will enable the government, healthcare providers, insurance companies, and other stakeholders to understand the broader impact of COVID-19 on frontline workers. Ultimately, CHAMPS will inform public health strategies designed to mitigate these effects during future health emergencies.

The study will include data obtained through surveys and optional in-person interviews and will capture immediate and long-term impacts on frontline workers. Participants will be recruited throughout the United States and its territories with outcomes followed longitudinally (for those who choose to enlist in the longitudinal phase) through a registry.

The FCN seeks your help to:

Disseminate the online survey link among nurses who provided care to patients with COVID-19 and encourage their participation.

TO PARTICIPATE, go to villanova.edu/CHAMPS and click Enter Study.

The FCN believes that our country has an obligation to frontline workers to learn about the effects that their sacrifices have had on their lives. This will enable us to best support and plan for future health emergencies. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

CHAMPS Principal Investigators:

Donna S. Havens, PhD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor
Peter Kaufmann, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation
Janell L. Mensinger, PhD, FAED, Associate Research Professor and Biostatistician

For more information about CHAMPS, please contact Dr. Havens at donna.havens@villanova.edu .

Topics: CHAMPS, Villanova University, Caring About Health for All Study, frontline workers, M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, COVID-19 study

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