System Change is at the Heart of Wellbeing

three nurses stacking handsYou can hardly pick up a paper these days without reading about healthcare team member burnout and a growing crisis in healthcare staffing as healthcare professionals and support team members opt out of the ever-speeding treadmill of clinical care.

Yes, the coronavirus continues to put an unprecedented level of strain on team members facing a novel virus without enough or the right equipment. Early social support has given way to vaccine resistance and a rise in workplace violence. And the trauma of witnessing so much death and suffering will reverberate through the ranks of healthcare workers for years to come.

But this crisis has been building steam since long before the pandemic. Our healthcare system has burned out a generation of clinicians through poorly-designed processes, a lack of leadership training, and technology that ties team members to tasks rather than letting them focus on sacred healing relationships.

The National Taskforce for Humanity in Healthcare (NTH) knew, even before the added trauma of COVID-19, that safeguarding clinician well-being would take more than an increased push for self-care. We put together a change program that focused on building communication skills, training the skills of human-centered leadership, team-driven process improvement, and hardwiring positive emotions into daily work.

The results? In a pilot study with teams at five healthcare organization from 2018-2020, researchers showed a statistically significant improvement in both emotional exhaustion and likelihood to recommend as a result of the intervention. You can read the full study here.

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