Organization with 8,000 nurses launches wellness initiatives for work and home
We are pleased to shine the spotlight on MedStar Health, an exceptional Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ (HNHN) Champion.
What does it mean to prioritize your employees’ well-being?
MedStar Health Center for Wellbeing (MCW) can answer that. The center launched in November 2021, but MedStar Health is no newcomer to employee wellness initiatives. The organization spent years building foundational well-being activities, earning the Joy in Medicine™ recognition from the American Medical Association (AMA).
The 4 goals of MCW are to:
- Discover new ways to make wellness a hardwired, central component of workplace life
- Continue to research and develop well-being programs for the health care industry
- Make MedStar Health the best place to work among health care organizations
- Promote and encourage engagement and awareness of the well-being programs among internal employees
To accomplish this, MedStar Health focuses on 2 areas:
- Programs that support individual employees and their household members
- Education and training to build a culture of well-being
MCW’s Wellness Rounds is one of the most successful employee well-being programs. Wellness committee members travel from unit to unit with wagons full of refreshments, snacks, and resources for those on the front lines. Those resources include tools on grounding, tips for stress management, and education on other well-being programs employees may not know about.
“When we visit the front-line staff, we identify where they’re at on a Stress First Aid stress continuum everyone is familiar with, then talk about how they can get back to an optimal state,” says Crystal Morales, MS, BSN, RN, Director of Nursing Well-Being. “We bring stress balls, aromatherapy, fidgets, poppers, or other tactile items to help the team decompress.”
Care for the Caregiver Program
People often find it easier to connect with those who do similar work. MCW’s Care for the Caregiver program brings together similar types of employees to help each other destress or resolve workplace issues. It has 3 levels:
- Triage: Checking on individuals and coordinating referrals if needed
- Tier II: One-on-one and group meetings
- Tier III: Coaching or counseling services and expedited mental health appointments
“We want to normalize having a wellness coach or someone you can turn to in times of stress,” says Crystal.
For those on night shifts, MCW has the Care for Caregiver Hotline. This gives all nurses access to peer support where they can remain anonymous if they wish. When they call the hotline, they can talk about what’s going on and connect to helpful resources.
These programs are just a few examples of the workplace resources available to employees. Others include:
- Stress First Aid Training
- Resilience Training and Regional Resilience Coaches
- Expedited Mental Health Offerings
- Here for You Materials (pocket cards, website)
- Quarterly Advocate Award
- Day Care Benefits for children and elderly family members or Childcare/eldercare
Wellness at Home
Well-being is important 24/7. It’s crucial not just at work but at home, too. That’s why MCW offers resources that employees can use when they’re not working.
“We wanted to create a community where nurses feel connected and can access resources they miss otherwise,” says Crystal. “Our “Scrub In” podcast brings in people to talk about mental health topics and offer tips for employees and their families. It’s been really popular so far.”
One of the most impressive parts of MCW is that its resources are available to employees’ family members, too. MedStar Health defines “family” as anyone who lives under your roof.
“If they live with you, they must be very important to you,” says Crystal. “It’s hard to do your best work when you’re worried about what’s going on at home. That’s why MCW makes all coaching and counseling services available to family members.”
MCW also provides a wellness calendar all employees can access at home. The calendar has both live and on-demand videos covering topics like:
- Sleep hygiene
- Healthy eating
- Stress management
- Families and teens
- Dance classes
- Book clubs
With 8,000+ nurses, MedStar Health is doing an exceptional job promoting well-being. Utilization rates for its programs are 12 percent higher than the national average among similar programs.
What does your organization do to promote nurse well-being? Share with us in our discussion below.
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This is so amazing! What an incredible program!!