How to promote clinician self-care in ASCs: 5 strategies from Cardinal Health experts

Two consultants from Cardinal Health discussed clinician self-care at the Jan. 26 webinar, "Nurse self-care: How to empower ASC clinicians to prioritize wellness."

The discussion, moderated by Becker's Healthcare Vice President of Editorial Molly Gamble, comprised:

  • Marvella Thomas, MSN, senior consultant of clinical operations (ASCs)
  • Deanna Andel, MSN, senior clinical consultant (post-acute care)

They discussed ways ASCs can promote and practice self-care among clinicians, including:

1. Prioritizing staff wellness

2. Communicating and educating on self-care

3. Encouraging and empowering staff

4. Leading by example

Here are five tools and strategies they outlined:

Note: Quotes were lightly edited for style and clarity.

Mindfulness meetings: "When I managed a nursing unit, we made mindfulness part of our daily huddle at the beginning of each shift when we gathered at the nurses station and would end our huddle with five minutes of silent meditation," Ms. Andel said. "So as you can imagine, the first few times there was a lot of giggling and looking around. But after we did this for a couple of weeks, we actually noticed that there were staff from other units coming by to check out our meditation minutes. And before you knew it, we were hearing about other units that had implemented this as well. It really made a significant difference in our employee satisfaction, and I can't think of a better time than now to try something like that."

Encouraging words: "Many of us, not just nurses, just need someone to give us permission to take care of ourselves," Ms. Andel said. "A simple statement like, 'It's okay to do something that's just for you,' can go a long way. Or giving time to your staff for exercising or providing support for weight loss or mindfulness meetings — these are all ways to encourage and support healthcare. Lead by example; you as the leaders, everyone's watching to see what you're going to do and how you're going to do it. So make a commitment to yourself and to your team to take care of you."

Break room space: "Break rooms are often small at ambulatory facilities," Ms. Thomas said. "Break rooms don't generate any revenue, so no one thinks about those. Stagger your breaks and offer alternative areas for your folks to sit and relax, maybe a conference room or the waiting room if you're not allowing visitors in your center. Allow staff the space to social distance and to feel comfortable in their break environment. If you're in a location where outside space is available, consider a patio or seating area outside. It helps with social distancing and people also get some healthy sunshine and fresh air."

Flexible scheduling: "I know we all have a business to run, but keeping your staff healthy is important in the long run, and it's actually a part of running that business," Ms. Thomas said. "Offer flexible schedules for staff and procedures. Can the schedule start later one day a week or can you close earlier occasionally? Can you flex individual schedules to support needs at home? I was in one facility that had a nurse who was sharing childcare responsibilities with a spouse who worked nights. Flexing her schedule to let her come in after her spouse had gotten home from work, allowed them to safely pass the childcare baton."

Employee recognition: "Something else that's easy to set up and develop is an employee recognition program," Ms. Thomas said. "That can also help improve staff morale. Employee recognition programs are a simple and low-cost way to let your team know that you care about them and that you appreciate all they do to make your facility successful."

CardinalHealth's employee recognition certificates and badges can be downloaded here.

View a recording of the webinar here.

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