Ochsner Health – Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation 2020 Update
Throughout the pandemic, Ochsner has been committed to supporting employee well-being.
“I am proud of the many programs Ochsner Health offers to support nurses as they pursue their own journey of health and well-being,” says Tracey Moffatt, MHA, BSN, RN, System Chief Nursing Officer and System Vice President of Quality, Ochsner Health, “but even more so, I’m in awe of the way our nurses have taken care of one another during one of the most difficult times in our history. They have been there for each other in ways too long to list. Their resilience is inspiring!”
Examples of supportive strategies include:
• Providing for basic needs of staff with meal tickets.
• Providing emotional and social counseling support through Ochsner’s employee assistance program and a well-being hotline.
• Providing space dedicated for staff to decompress and restore during a shift.
• Empowering employee morale. During the pandemic, nurses led various activities at each campus to support, uplift and encourage each other through short resilience activities during staff huddles, encouraging sidewalk chalk messages, and through supporting each other with meals and messages of gratitude conveying “we are all in this together.” As an example, nurses working in the Emergency Department bought a meal for the Cardiac Medical Intensive Care Unit nurses as an act of kindness and support for their colleagues.
• Additionally, coping resources and materials like self-care tips for stress relief pocket cards have been shared internally.
Ochsner’s Behavioral Health service line, in partnership with Ochsner’s Office of Professional Well-Being, offered counseling, wellness and support services to all providers and employees. Services such as individual in-person or telephone counseling, group mindfulness sessions, self-guided resources, and unit rounding are confidential, private and available at no cost to Ochsner employees. “Our nurses are the backbone of our care team, and it became paramount for us to support them as they cared for our patients in the most trying of circumstances. Through interventions like staff debriefings and unit-based rounding, we were able to give them a venue to process the stress of their shifts,” says Dr. Nigel Girgrah, MD, PhD, Chief Wellness Officer, Ochsner Health and Medical Director, Liver Transplantation, Ochsner Medical Center.
Looking ahead, Ochsner Nursing will host a virtual Evidence Based Practice conference this fall themed 2020 Year of the Nurse: COVID-19 and Beyond offering Ochsner employees an opportunity to share best practices in self-care, patient care, and key learnings during COVID-19.
Example: Coping Tips Pocket Card- Ochsner printed and shared the coping tips pocket card and a posted flyer with self-care tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2020) and information for who to contact for support:
Please take care of you, your teams, your neighbors, and loved ones by:
• Taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
• Taking care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals; exercise regularly; get plenty of sleep; and avoid alcohol and drugs.
• Making time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
• Keep a routine. Humans, small and large, crave consistency.
• Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Read more about employee well-being programs at Ochsner in Ochsner Health’s 2019 HNHN Spotlight article here.
Reference: CDC (2020). Managing Anxiety & Stress. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html
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