Nurse Leaders Must Come to Staff’s Aid
Responding to the rapidly changing needs of the COVID-19 pandemic requires extraordinary leadership. Your work as a nurse leader is critical to not only the health and safety of the patients, but to supporting the emotional health of your workforce. In using recommendations to address the well-being of staff, you will lead with compassion and heart. Here are some tips to help your staff combat stress and burnout:
- Housing, meals, and transportation: Consider housing accommodations for clinicians fearful of exposing vulnerable family members to COVID-19. As workloads intensify, support transitions to breaks and provide healthy grab-and-go meals, gift cards for meal delivery and/or credits for transportation services.
- Support debriefing/emotional support: Use existing resources, such as chaplaincy, spiritual care and employee assistance programs, to support debriefing after high stress or traumatic events. Acknowledge extraordinary circumstances through continuous awareness and frequent interventions, such as well-being huddles before or after shifts or a “Going Home” checklist.
- Reduce psychological burden: An effort should be made to remove nonessential tasks, education and electronic documentation. If possible, bundle information and tier dissemination so clinicians are not consistently interrupted throughout their day.
- Be a present, compassionate listener: At times, being a listening ear has more value than solving the problem. Whether through listening sessions, group debriefing or one-on-ones, the current situation requires compassionate listening so fears and anxieties are expressed.