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How COVID-19 has exacerbated burnout among care providers

Valerie Dimond, Contributing Reporter | June 29, 2020
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“We’re all fish out of water. This is, clinically, something we don’t recognize, clinically not managed this way before,” said Nederi. “The communication from the hospital leadership has been incredibly transparent and robust. Having that leadership engagement, the ear of leadership to quickly make changes and respond in live-time to the feedback we’re giving for our needs on the front line is something that I hope continues well beyond this pandemic.”

Experts say that’s exactly what needs to happen for healthcare organizations to weather any storm — today and tomorrow — and building that solid structure requires a true cultural shift that continuously engages every person on the team, as Nederi’s organization did.

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“When you do that you unleash just an incredible amount of innovation and solutions in ways that you can walk through this, and if there are gaps such as missing equipment, or missing medications, you actually develop a plan that will help the team successfully, safely, and as efficiently as possible provide care for the people they are serving,” said Maples. “It can’t be written as policy. Nobody can write a policy that is going to say we are going to listen to our physicians, our nurses, our teams. It is the culture, and it does take some concerted effort, an intentional process that you weave into the organization to really help evolve that culture. To actually do the work takes some time to invest and giving the right skills to all of the team members, not just a few of them. The C-suite has got to be part of it. We tried to skip over that step for the last 20 years … and we’ve not really gotten to the place that we’ve hoped to be.”

Duffy agrees but remains cautiously optimistic. “I think we have a lot of work to do, as a country, to lead through this pandemic and on the other side of it,” she said. “We’ll need to lead differently. The hierarchy will need to go away.”

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