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Developing a Realistic Toolkit of Resiliency Responses to the Parallel Pandemic: Transformative Strategies for Work-Life Balance through Self-Reflection, Community Support, and Leadership Advocacy

Credits: None available.

Progressively it is said the world of medicine was changed with the discovery of handwashing and its impact on the spread of disease. We can bestow that same accolade as we look at the use of some vaccines which have irradicated illness or the various technological advances and the discovery of medicines, both holistic and traditional, that have placed an influential stamp on patient treatment plans. But what about the situational awareness of how a disease makes its mark on those who are involved in the care of individuals who have been directly influenced by such affliction?
Healthcare workers have always been indirectly affected by their labor, but it became more evident as work-related ethical dilemmas surfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic, so much so it became known as the “parallel pandemic.. Section 5.2 of provision 5 to the nursing code of ethics pinpoints a direct correlation to patient care and nurse self-care. Recognition of the lack of self-care and understanding the difference between self-care, self-comfort, and self-compassion became more evident as time progressed and we continued to search for an end to the mental anguish in hopes of a “new normal.” We still question what a new normal will entail, but we at least know that from the parallel pandemic evolved a desire to improve the individual work experience. Priorities shifted with the pandemic, and a desire to establish a realistic work-life balance emerged.
In the ambulatory care setting of Emory Healthcare, our leadership sought to develop ways to support our staff in staying motivated, feeling less stressed, and identifying modalities of wellness that would be beneficial and easily adaptable for each unit. Through our research, staff not only expressed the need for transparency from our leaders, but they also sought meaningful support that was in many cases nurse initiated and nurse-driven. They looked at the community from within as they supported the community outside of the work environment.
Before COVID-19, we had considered the use of code lavender, which is a holistic tool used both for inpatient and outpatient settings to address traumatic events which may or may not be work-related. With an increased use of 120% and decreased stress by 47%, it was apparent that code lavender could be a useful tool to help in this aspect. There were many wellness tools added to our arsenal during the pandemic, but with code lavender, we felt we could tailor make it to fit the individual unit. With its many modalities, we had to identify the most beneficial options as we began to connect with leadership to pinpoint resources and finalize support to implement a program. We surveyed the clinical staff to determine the impact of code lavender and then identified the top five modality preferences. From the various stages, we developed a workable toolkit that can be adapted by ambulatory care leaders, setting the groundwork for transformative strategies to develop realistic responses to resiliency which will help staff reconnect in reclaiming the joy of the work experience.



Credits: None available.

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