Resource Library

Picklist of emotional support options

Staff resilience and wellbeing is a priority that requires consistent investment. During crisis situations, frontline clinicians are often stretched past their emotional limits as they work to deliver back-to-back care with little to no time to tend to their own wellbeing. Use this picklist to identify where you can invest to support your staff working on the front line.

Provide emotional support

  • Manager-Triggered Psychological First Aid: Create a team of trained clinical and non-clinical staff who managers can call to 1) provide on-unit, emotional support to frontline staff immediately following a traumatic incident and 2) connect staff with ongoing support when needed.
  • Individual emotional support: Set up confidential mental health support for frontline workers. When staff request a session, connect them to targeted internal or external behavioral health support services. These meetings can be done in-person or virtually.
  • Office hours: Provide virtual drop-in sessions or "office hours" with staff from your organization who have expertise in providing mental and emotional support.
  • 24/7 hotline: Create or redirect staff to a 24/7 hotline that they can call following a traumatic or challenging event.
  • Chaplain-led recovery: Encourage hospital chaplains to facilitate one-on-one or group discussions to help clinicians manage routine stressors and process their emotions.
  • Group emotional support: Run virtual peer "support sessions" once a week where a trained facilitator prompts staff to discuss their personal and professional concerns with a small group of peers.

Offer recovery resources

  • Bounce back kits: Create pre-made kits with reflection exercises on a range of themes including gratitude, resilience, acceptance, letting go, anger, and rest. An example relaxation kit can include a reflection exercise, a coloring book, earplugs, and candles.
  • Code Lavender cart: Allocate a cart to supply a collection of relaxation materials that are designed to help staff ground and center themselves during moments of heightened stress. Carts can include snacks, notes of encouragement, gratitude letters, and more.
  • Relaxation sessions: Organize sessions with psychologists or well-being experts to teach mindfulness, meditation, controlled breathing, yoga, journaling, and other relaxation techniques.
  • Quiet rooms: Offer private or semi-private rooms to give staff a break from workplace stress. Consider repurposing respite rooms or using Ronald McDonald house space.

Build a culture of wellness

  • Moments of silence: Lead guided meditation or periods of silence at specific times throughout the day.
  • Storytelling: Storytelling is an effective way for health care executives to acknowledge and recognize the effort and self-sacrifice of their employees. Give staff and leaders a channel to submit these stories either through a dedicated inbox or even sending directly to an appointed executive.
  • Recognition: To make it easier for staff, leaders, patients, and families to provide recognition, you can use our customizable recognition cards.
  • Individual resilience training: Set aside time for a (multi)-day-long intensive training on resilience and compassion fatigue. Use this time to show the organization’s support for well-being and teach clinicians about the resources available to them.
  • Peer networks: Set up a buddy system partnering junior frontline staff taking on critical care patients for the first time with more tenured team members to get advice and voice concerns.

Manage everyday challenges and stressors

  • Navigate grief: Every person responds to grief differently. Help your team process grief by creating space to acknowledge losses, showing compassion, and preparing yourself to be an emotionally intelligent leader.
  • Identify communication channels: Pick 2-3 channels to use to standardize communication with frontline staff. Prioritize channels that align with your organization's existing workflows and allow you to reach staff across shifts.
  • Shut down the rumor mill: Proactively address rumors by reserving time to answer questions during meetings, dedicating a channel for staff concerns, and nominate a department liaison to track organizational changes.
  • Adapt for remote managing: Use these tools to give your team clarity, autonomy, a mission, and sense of belonging while working remotely.
  • Plan effective virtual meetings: Improve communication during remote work by using virtual meeting tactics such as streamlining the attendee list, sharing an agenda in advance, assigning a conversation moderator, and more.
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