The resurgence of Covid-19 has put many hospitals and healthcare facilities in crisis mode — and nurses and other front-line workers are often those hit hardest. With burnout and depression on the rise, and shortages on everyone’s mind, how can healthcare leaders and facilities make sure that they’re supporting nurses and clinical staff during this critical time?
First of all, why is it worth your time to support your front-line staff? On top of making sure that the people who work for you are safe, it’s smart strategy to ensure that your workers can continue to work at the top of their ability. And at a time when shortages have already caused some smaller facilities to shut down altogether, supporting nurses has never been more important to maintaining patient care.
Put another way, it’s never been more important to make sure that your essential workers feel supported and appreciated during this difficult time. With that in mind, we’ve gathered some expert guidance on supporting nurses and other clinical workers that you can implement right away.
5 Tips for Supporting Nurses & Clinical Staff During a Crisis
1. Focus on providing a positive working environment. According to the AMA, there are a range of immediate steps you can take to support the nurses and clinicians who work in your facility. These include basic safety measures like providing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), perks like free meals or coffee, and some more therapeutic approaches like paying attention to your workers’ emotional and mental well-being.
Designed to offer a full range of resources for healthcare leaders, the AMA guide also includes a wealth of information on the more strategic side of supporting nurses and clinical workers. These topics include building a more resilient organization, guidance on workload redistribution, tips for on-site childcare and pet care policies and more. You can find it here,
2. Be on the lookout for burnout or compassion fatigue. As we’ve noted here at the CareerStaff blog, compassion fatigue and burnout have risen sharply during the pandemic. And that can put healthcare workers in serious danger, as well as jeopardize a facility’s ability to provide basic patient care. (People suffering from burnout are around three times more likely to miss a shift, for instance.)
Luckily, there are some steps you can take immediately to identify and curb burnout in your facility, including more sensitive scheduling, implementing a ‘buddy-up’ policy, promoting self-care among your staff and more. Get a more comprehensive guide to preventing burnout and compassion fatigue here.
3. Promote social and peer support groups. A number of organizations have set up peer support groups to help care teams support each other through the unique challenges of the pandemic. If your facility hasn’t already done so, consider holding a weekly check-in to let staff members discuss what’s on their mind, what’s worrying them, and what you can do to support them.
» New to Zoom? The AMA has some great tips for conducting a virtual session
4. Take special heed of students and interns. Any programs for supporting nurses and clinical workers should consider that activities involving students “should be part of a voluntary, student-led program overseen by their school in compliance with guidance from the LCME or other accreditor,” the AMA advises. “No direct solicitation of individual students should occur.”
5. Support your staff with backup workers. If your staff is overworked or on the verge of burnout, one solution may be to give them some much-needed time off. And one way to do that is to enlist the help of contingency staff like travel and/or per diem nurses, to help cover for their shifts.
A travel nursing partner with a nationwide network of workers can provide you with a variety of different types of nurses and clinicians to meet your specific patient care needs, even during this critical time. And the use of contingency workers can also help you better support your long-term workforce needs, too, even when crisis mode is over.
Taking it one step further, healthcare managed services (MSP) like those offered by CareerStaff Unlimited offer all the benefits of a nationwide contingency staffing partner along with workforce management solutions to optimize your resources and workflows. From sourcing and hiring to benefits allocation and payment processing, it can all be easily managed in one line item on your budget.
CareerStaff Is Here to Help
We have thousands of contingency workers standing by, as well as special crisis workers who can help your facility weather the Covid-19 storm. You can submit a staffing request here, or contact us today to learn more.