- Jeffrey Leichter, PhD, Licensed Psychologist and Lead Administrator for Behavioral Health Integration, Sanford Health, Marana, AZ
An August 2020 report revealed that nearly 21% of essential health care workers had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days. Certainly, the social, biological, societal and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been significant on our health care workforce. A 2021 study of front line health care workers indicated that nearly 2/3 of respondents felt that worry or stress about the pandemic had led to a negative impact on their overall mental health. Even prior to COVID, burnout reports among physicians, nurses, and other members of the health care team approached, and sometimes exceeded, 50%. In a 2021 survey of national nurse leaders, those self- reporting as “not emotionally healthy” rose 56% in a six month span from February to August 2021. Health care workers share many traits and qualities that simultaneously make them wonderful at taking care of others such as devotion, compassion, selflessness, and empathy. These traits, however, when not closely monitored and balanced with self-care, can also become the “Achilles heel” of the health care professional, rendering them vulnerable to burnout, compassion fatigue, excessive grief, hopelessness, and self-destructive behaviors such as addiction and even suicide. A November 2021 study in the American Journal of Nursing concluded that nurses are at a 38% higher risk for suicide than other workers, in large part due to burnout. Physicians, similarly, are 40% more likely to die by suicide than the general population. Experts point to burnout, compassion fatigue, unaddressed grief, addiction, despair, and loss of hope as contributing factors to these alarming statistics. This 60 minute presentation will provide a broad overview of well-being and distress through the lens of burnout and self-care, multifactorial dimensions of wellness, dealing with adversity, post-traumatic growth, compassion fatigue, grief, and maintaining hope and meaning as means of building resilience personally and within the health care team.
- Define burnout, identify maladaptive coping behaviors and embrace healthy alternative responses.
- Identify characteristics of Compassion Fatigue and Unresolved Grief and formulate strategies for improving resilience.
- Describe and apply the concepts of Post Traumatic Growth (PTG) and finding meaning and their implications to improve resilience to adversity.