A guide to initiating staff conversations about well-being is one of the resources available at chausa.org/well-being
Frontline clinicians and other health care staff have been under tremendous strain since the pandemic hit, and with the recent resurgence of COVID infections in many U.S. communities, the stressors are again increasing for many health care workers.
To help Catholic health systems and facilities and other organizations support overtaxed staff, CHA has compiled a collection of resources on employee well-being. The materials include a library of prayers of gratitude, a podcast on self-care practices, a discussion guide on well-being, and reflection and meditation resources.
Accessible at chausa.org/well-being, the collection includes items created by CHA, ministry organizations and national experts on well-being.
Dennis Gonzales, CHA senior director of mission innovation and integration, says while anyone can access the resources, the collection might be especially useful to executives in mission, organizational development and human resources who are looking for tools to address employees' emotional and spiritual suffering.
Gonzales says clinicians and other health care staff have endured ongoing trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout during the pandemic prompting many to leave or consider leaving their professions. He says workers have been weighted down by fears of contracting the virus, sadness at witnessing patient suffering, and worries about their own finances as a result of the economic downturn.
CHA convened a task force of nine members with expertise in well-being, spirituality, change management and mission integration that created some of the content and provided input on the new web collection. The group includes physicians.
Task force members Rachel Lucy, PeaceHealth director of community health; Lisa Reynolds, CHRISTUS Health vice president of change management; and Carrie Meyer McGrath, CHA director of mission services, created a discussion guide that mission leaders can use to convene and facilitate conversation among staff.
Reynolds says it is therapeutic for people to talk about what they are going through, and to delve into their fears and blessings. The discussion guide also helps group members talk through what they are going through and share how and why to practice self-care.
CHA's Gonzales says that times of trauma can lead to personal growth, and he hopes the resources will help guide ministry associates to this outcome.
Reynolds says, "My greatest hope for these resources is that when someone needs a tool, the resources will be easy to access and staff and leaders will have renewed hope and energy."
Committee promotes participation in clinician well-being study
The CHA task force that is addressing associate well-being is encouraging ministry participation in a Catholic university study on the well-being of associates amid the pandemic.
The M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing at Villanova University is conducting the study, which will examine immediate and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on frontline caregivers' health and wellness. Donna Havens, dean of the nursing school, told the CHA task force the research will add to the field's understanding of stress, health and recovery following public health emergencies.
Another aim is that the study "inform public health and disaster plans to lessen emotional and physical impacts on health care and essential support workers during future health emergencies," according to the college of nursing.
To take part in the study, frontline caregivers should visit villanova.edu/CHAMPS. There they will see a link to an online questionnaire that takes less than 20 minutes to complete.
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