Health & Wellness

What Is Nurse Mental Wellness?

Dr. Dan Weberg, PhD, RN
September 28, 2020
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Healthcare teams are under incredible stressors every single day. Whether your team is clinical, HR, IT, or operations, the realities of the healthcare industry have created pressures that have stretched many healthcare workers to the breaking point. Burnout, turnover, even poor patient outcomes and nurse suicide result from over-stressed teams.

What Do Nurses Say About Mental Wellness?

In a survey of over 1,500 nurses, stress and burnout were identified as issues impacting over 80% of them. Additionally, the respondents felt health systems were not helping them deal with mental wellness challenges, including anxiety, depression, and stress. As leaders of these health systems, we can (and must) strive to make changes. (Check out a few recommendations at the bottom of this survey.)

As leaders we have a duty to not only address the issues that arise but also work to change the entire system so that these issues stop occurring. Of course, it can be hard to know what to do or even where to start. 

Questions we might be asking ourselves include:

  • Should I ask my team about their mental health and wellness?  
  • What if they say they are burned out? 
  • How do I support them? 
  • Should we all do yoga and meditate?

Or simply… I just don’t want to know.  

While there seem to be a lot of resources for individuals to work on their personal mental wellness, from Trusted’s Wellness Partner Program to OSU’s Mindstrong program, there are very few guides that help leaders know what to do in their day-to-day interactions with teammates. 

Enter Trusted’s Healthcare Resources for The Modern Leader: Team Mental Wellness.

This resource has been built out to support your amazing work as healthcare leaders in supporting your team's mental wellness.

The resource builds in these three steps:

1) At Home

This is the leader’s chance to get up to speed on what mental wellness is and how it can impact team performance. Check this out while you’re at home; it’s foundational content for you to build upon.

2) At Work 

Now that you have the foundation, start practicing with your team. This section has easy-to-follow tips you can use to support your team every day.

3) My Team

Now that you have started the conversation, it’s time to get your team on board. This section has easily shareable content to send to your team to support them as they stay well.  

Here is how Courtnay Caufield, CNE for Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center uses these tools:

“As a nurse executive, you need to use your nursing skills and look for signs in your team that they’ve had too much or that they’re not doing OK. Asking ‘how can I help’ may not be enough but rather, ‘how can I help you with what is most important to you right now’ may be a better question. The tools here help me start that conversation.”

Our resource guide for leaders to support their teams mental wellness goes into much more depth, but here are a few quick tips to get started (see our “Your Team” section for tools to make these things happen every day):

  1. Create space to understand how people are feeling. 
  2. Pay attention to patterns of behavior, as changes may signify underlying stressors.
  3. Use your influence on the healthcare system or your organization to start the wellness journey (This can be as simple as mandating some time off for teammates who truly need it).

We dive deeper into these topics throughout the curated resources. Keep in mind that this effort is a marathon not a sprint. We must pace ourselves, check our stats every few miles, and focus on the journey as much as the finish. Leaders can have a real impact to save our clinicians and our teammates’ lives.

If you want to receive some additional information and take our pledge to support your team's mental wellness, click here!

How to Use Our Leader Mental Health Resources

At Home: Foundations of team mental wellness

Start here: All the stuff you need to know to support your teams! Pick your learning style, listen to the podcasts, read a few articles, or watch our webinar. Each provides some basics for leaders to level-up their team’s overall performance.

At Work: Tools for the moment

Take action: No matter how long you have been leading, digging into the stressors of your team is never easy. We created a few tools you can use in the moment, whether that's a one-on-one chat, a team meeting, or conversation with your own supervisor. Download the tips and tricks to start seeing results.

My Team: Share the love

Bring your team along: Share the easy to digest resources from Trusted and other leaders in the field to help your team assess their mental wellness, learn tips and tricks to enhance it, and begin the journey to change our healthcare culture. 

To get started, check out the full resource!

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