The stress and strain of the pandemic exacted an immeasurable toll on the nursing community. Relieving those pressures requires a coordinated health care effort. In that spirit, chief nursing officers (CNOs) from three health systems in the Dayton, Ohio, area came together to launch a campaign aimed at promoting compassion for—and the well-being of—its nursing workforce.
One of the initial phases of this collaboration is a new podcast focusing on nurse wellness. “A health care system cannot exist without a strong nursing workforce,” says Jayne Gmeiner, chief nursing officer at Dayton Children’s Hospital in Ohio. “We wanted to do something together to let our nursing team members know that we are hearing, we are listening and we know how difficult it is.”
Gmeiner partnered with the CNOs from the two other major health care systems in the Dayton area—Kettering Health and Premier Health—to create A PRN Moment for Nurses. The team felt using a podcast to reach the nursing workforce provided some unique benefits over other means of communication: nurses typically are familiar with the platform and can access the information at their convenience.
The intent of the podcast is to “share lessons learned during the pandemic and seek to create a positive vision for the future of nursing,” but it’s just the beginning of a larger effort to promote nurse wellness. Gmeiner says the podcast series is an effective means of promoting a virtual conference the three health care systems are hosting Sept. 16 to help nurses “recharge and refresh the inner soul.”
Another primary focus of the collaboration is to address nursing shortages in the region, including:
- Conducting a series of surveys to assess where staffing gaps persist—including in specialty care areas.
- Expanding relationships with academic partners to explore new ways of cultivating the nursing pipeline.
- Experimenting with blended nursing models, such as incorporating LPNs into acute patient care more frequently.
“Like any region in the country right now, having enough resources to take care of our patients is something we're all concerned about,” Gmeiner says. “We know we have work to do with our partners to make sure we have the support systems in the academic world to continue a strong pipeline.”
Humanity as a common ground
Gmeiner says she and her colleagues have received positive feedback on the podcast and will determine the next steps for the series after the September conference.
She adds the logistics around replicating this type of project for other children’s hospitals—or similar collaborations of health care systems across an entire region—can be relatively simple if the partnering institutions find a common ground to work toward.
In the case of promoting compassion and wellness among nurses and all health care providers, it boils down to one basic concept. “We are doing our best to keep humanity in our health care, so we’re continuing to amplify how important that is in our work,” Gmeiner says. “Humanity is vital to our work; we cannot forget why we're here and what our purpose is.”