Where Do We Go From Here
Many in healthcare management are wondering how they will ever be able to facilitate their healthcare workers’ recovery from the debilitating trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic. How can we possibly help our employees regain their resilience and spirit after undergoing such unrelenting stresses and shattering ordeals? Can we give them any hope that this coming year will bring any solace and relief going forward?
Building Healthcare Worker Resilience and Optimism in 2021
Recently, Healthcare Source, a healthcare staffing, and consulting company addressed this issue in an article entitled Cultivating a Positive Outlook for Healthcare Workers in 2021. In the article, they sought advice from two renowned psychologists on how leaders can engender renewed hopefulness for this year and beyond. The following is the guidance given by the mental health experts, Fox Vernon, Ph.D., and Natalie Dattilo, Ph.D.
Acknowledge Getting Through - In times of struggle, we can get hyper-focused on what’s bringing us down, but even a little bit of time appreciating our successes can do a lot to lift up our spirits and give us the energy to persevere. Take it a step forward to say it’s not just acknowledging that we made it through but celebrating all the things we did well. Acknowledging that we made it through affirms that we are capable of doing hard things and have the ability to persevere, which is important for strengthening resilience and resolve. Appreciate how different things have been, what we have overcome, and what you are most looking forward to doing again.
Practice Gratitude - It’s amazing how the simple act of gratitude focuses our attention on people and things in our lives that we really appreciate, and that, in and of itself, is enjoyable and energizing. People who cultivate a sense of gratitude tend to be less reactive to negative events, less stressed, and more resilient in the face of setbacks. Gratitude practice often involves searching for the silver lining in any situation, which is an important part of meaning-making, post-traumatic growth, and coping.
Set Intentions and Goals - We should focus on growth instead of change. Think of growth as a mindset that’s more about the journey than the destination. This allows us to be more flexible and adjust our expectations over time. Having flexible expectations makes it easier for us to “go with the flow” and sets us up for success rather than disappointment.
Give Yourself and Others Grace - Grace comes from remembering that we are all in this together, recognizing that we are all just doing the best we can under very unusual and stressful circumstances. Extending compassion to ourselves and to others can help us reconnect with our common humanity, our common purpose, remember that we are stronger together, and we will get through this.
Make it a Team Effort - A gratitude practice in a community can be amazingly powerful because it helps to strengthen a sense of cohesion and trust which has important implications for care delivery, teamwork, and the mitigation of the effects of burnout and low morale. With deliberate and regular practice, your team can develop a more positive outlook and perspective.
We Will Get through This
We know that COVID-19’s psychic toll left healthcare leaders and workers physically and emotionally exhausted. But if we keep our focus on the unbelievable acts of heroism and courage we have experienced and been a part of, we can surely feel heartened and buoyed to keep fighting the good fight. If we can assist you in recognizing your intrepid caregivers, we would feel privileged to help. We’re here if you need us.