CINCINNATI — Depression and anxiety soared 25% in the first year of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. Among those affected were frontline healthcare workers.
“It’s been very difficult, very emotional and quite dangerous to walk through the unknown,” said Colleen Boyde, joint and spine clinical manager on the third floor of Christ Hospital. “Not only was it scary to come to work and be face to face with (COVID), but also the heaviness of potentially bringing this home or exposing people.
Boyde said she thinks most healthcare workers still feel the anxiety.
“You constantly worry even when you try to turn off your brain and give yourself that time to relax,” she said. “We are in healthcare for a reason. We are caring and compassionate people. So it puts a very heavy burden on someone to always wonder if I’m doing this right? Have I done enough? A kind of guilt feeling, ‘Did I do everything for these people and the people they love?’ »
That’s why Christ Hospital places great emphasis on the mental health and well-being of its employees.
During the months of April and May, the hospital enlists sports psychology and resilience expert Michael Sherman to lead workshops for employees. Sherman is the founder of Mentally Tougher and teaches athletes, soldiers, healthcare workers and more how to intentionally change their mindset to overcome adversity.
“In particular here, we focus on resilience. The last two years in a health care population have really started to take a toll on everyone involved in health care,” Sherman said. “The fact that they’re still in healthcare, for me, they’re some of the most resilient people I’ve come in contact with.”
Sherman held a workshop at the hospital on Monday.
“I spend a lot of time talking about self-awareness and I think it does a lot of good for people not only recognizing inside of themselves what’s going on, but also how others experience them in certain situations,” Sherman said. “I ask them to do a lot of introspective thinking about the impact they have on others, the impact they have on relationships with patients, team members.”
Specifically in relation to health care, Sherman proposed a mindset shift from focusing solely on patient outcomes to focusing on the entire process that leads to outcomes.
“A lot of times, if nurses did everything they could, outcomes would usually improve. With COVID, not necessarily. Outcomes unfortunately didn’t improve,” Sherman said. “(Instead) a process is usually controllable and you can pile some wins into the process for – yes, we did everything we could, we worked together as a team, we provided the best care for this patient and to his family.
“We recognize the cost we’ve all had to pay and now we’re in a position to start rebuilding that emotional bank and really start reinvesting in our people so we can keep moving forward,” said Shannon Asbach. , Clinical Manager at The Emergency Department at Christ Liberty Hospital.
Asbach said she was grateful for the workshop.
“When you have two years of dark times, it’s hard to remember you’re that bright spot (for patients). And it’s hard to be that bright spot for each other in times of darkness,” she said. “For me, this ability to attend this training is just about remembering what a bright spot I am for others and really remembering who those bright spots are for me.”
By next week, Sherman will have held 14 resilience workshops for more than 600 hospital employees.
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