Healing Together: Peer Support Resilience Program
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our doctors and healthcare providers are overworked and burned out. That’s why we’ve partnered CommonSpirit Health, the second-largest healthcare system in the United States, to launch our pilot program for institutional wellness in healthcare systems.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed significant strain on healthcare workers around the world. Half of front-line healthcare workers during the pandemic have reported increased levels of depression. Burnout and stress also run rampant among healthcare providers. The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) recognizes the need for comprehensive and supportive tools to aid in the healing of healthcare workers.
CommonSpirit Health (CSH) is the second-largest healthcare system in the US, and currently operates 2,200 care sites and 142 hospitals across 21 US states. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, CSH has treated more than 234,000 COVID-19 patients and provided almost 1.6 million vaccinations. Committed to health equity, CSH has organized community vaccination events across the country, targeting low-income individuals, farm workers, rural communities, and other marginalized populations lacking access to care.
Christine Stewart, a CMBM-trained facilitator and Quality Safety Nurse at Dignity Health North State, and Lesly Kelly, a Nurse Scientist at CommonSpirit Health, initiated a partnership with CMBM to bring our model to CSH.
After familiarizing ourselves with the values and needs of CSH, we launched our institutional pilot program, the Healing Together: Peer Support Resilience Program, to bring self-care skills into the personal and professional practices of hospital leadership and staff. CSH’s Nursing Executive Leadership, Palliative Care Leadership teams, as well as several other system-wide leaders, have all been recent participants in our program, and we aspire to make our training accessible to all CSH staff to create a meaningful and lasting culture of self-care and awareness in the system.
Testimonials from our partnership with CSH reveal our model’s ability to transform trauma at the institutional level. CSH staff reported a newfound sense of relief thanks to the safe space we create in our MBSGs. Participants found that they internalized what they felt less, and let themselves feel the full force of their colleagues’ and their own feelings. In online groups, participants found common ground with healthcare providers across the US and found themselves speaking freely about their shared traumatic experiences. In-person groups in London, KY and Lexington, KY similarly united CSH providers. All participants forged stronger, more rewarding bonds with their colleagues and felt that their work, made even more demanding by the COVID-19 pandemic, did not go unappreciated.
So far, 85 CSH staff have participated in our signature Mind-Body Skills Groups, and another 150 have participated in CMBM workshops. There are currently 11 Mind-Body Skills Groups for CSH staff running. There are two in-person groups, one in London, KY and another in Lexington, KY. There is also one hybrid group in Phoenix, AZ.