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Zap Nurse Burnout with Resilience Training

By Jennifer Thew RN  
   June 27, 2017

"The nurses just take a second, instead of going back to their assignment, to reflect on the life that they just lost and honor it as well as taking a moment to reflect among the team about what just happened," West says. 

"They allow themselves to get [centered], to grieve for a minute if they need to, to listen to each other, to thank each other for what they've done."

Outside some patient rooms there is a picture of a hand that says, "Stop and reflect."

"It's a visual reminder to reflect on what it is you're about and what it is you want to do for this patient," she says. 

Work-life, Personal-life Benefit

Giving nurses more control over their work environment also helps prevent burnout, says West. 

"One of the things we learned is that they'd like to have a "weather report" so each unit knows what's going on in the rest of the hospital," she says. 

"So if they're going to get five admissions, they understand the reason they're getting them is because their sister unit is either full or doesn't have enough staff. It helps them to connect as the larger team."  

At Dignity Mercy San Juan, connection between teammates is encouraged through reflective huddles.
"When they're feeling stressed, [the nurses] can call a quick huddle and they all talk about what's making them unhappy at that moment and what they can do to help each other get over it so they can change the emotion and tide of the way a unit is going," West says.

The nurses have responded positively to the resilience training work, she says.  

"[They talk] about what a difference it has made in their life—both in their quality of work-life and in their persona- life. They feel more rested when they go home and interact with their families," she says. 

"I see in their eyes, when they think about the profound difference they have made even in one life during a shift, there's just joy that comes over them, this sense of peace. It's that fulfillment of why you go into nursing in the first place which is to make a difference in the lives of our patients and each other."

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.

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