Leadership Lesson: Finding Grace & Peace in Troubled Times, Taking Care of Yourself & Caring for Others
This month’s leadership lesson is from JoVonn Givens, MPH, Task Order Director at Alliant Quality, the quality improvement group of Alliant Health Solutions, the QIN-QIO for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my friends and colleagues working tirelessly during this pandemic to safely care for residents and also care for themselves and their family and friends. I think putting yourself ahead of others feels almost selfish when you work in healthcare, and we also know from perhaps the more “super woo” in the field of neuroscience that the mindset and approach of loving oneself improves both perception of self and ability to care for others. Self-compassion or giving yourself a little grace is a gift that keeps on giving, the more you find to acknowledge, the more solid and loved you feel.
Another important part of self-care is to allow yourself to be vulnerable and reach out externally rather than hold it all on the inside. When we are not in our authentic selves, it wears on us, and in healthcare it is difficult to sometimes find someone to confide in when you are feeling loss of control, sad, exhausted, and/or angry. As leaders, I think it is our duty to provide a soft space for staff, a place to allow them to be truly authentic and obtain support and guidance to navigate these challenging times.
Here are just a few resources and suggestions of things we are doing at Alliant:
For Our Nursing Homes:
- Self Care Video (LINK: https://youtu.be/uRh8t0rfuUo)
- Offering trainings on topics that are still important outside of the pandemic and encouraging small wins in other areas of the work
- Cultivating hope: Here are 5 questions to ask (From https://www.theshineapp.com/) <insert>
- What does hope mean to you?
- When was the last time you felt hopeful?
- What’s something that makes you feel hopeful now?
- How can you cultivate moments of hope in your life?
- How can you honor your hope?
For Alliant Staff:
- Starting meetings with sharing on a topic that is not about work or the pandemic (i.e. Name one thing that brought you joy in the last 24 hours)
- Leading with Love & patience – recognizing that some may be struggling more than others and there is no “bar” for suffering – it is comparative – we are all experiencing this as a trauma, one way or another.
- Verbalizing recognition where we help each other
- Wind Downs – engaging with each other on a human non-work level to share, sometimes just to be human and sit with each other grieving
- Openly recognizing that we are in uncertainty and change is the only constant so when rapid responses are needed they don’t knock folks over in the process
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish. Learn more. Help is available, call today: 800-273-8255
- Brene’ Brown Unlocking Us podcast/ The Power of Vulnerability book
- There is a great one-pager with ideas on Finding Joy in Work: http://www.ihi.org/Topics/Joy-In-Work/Pages/default.aspx
- Here is my favorite: “Psychological PPE”: Promote Health Care Workforce Mental Health and Well-Being: http://www.ihi.org/resources/Pages/Tools/psychological-PPE-promote-health-care-workforce-mental-health-and-well-being.aspx
- Conversation and Action Guide to Support Staff Well-Being and Joy in Work During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic: http://www.ihi.org/resources/Pages/Tools/Conversation-Guide-to-Support-Staff-Wellbeing-Joy-in-Work-COVID-19.aspx
- “What Matters to You?” Conversation Guide for Improving Joy in Work: http://www.ihi.org/resources/Pages/Tools/Joy-in-Work-What-Matters-to-You-Conversation-Guide.aspx
- Age-Friendly website: http://www.ihi.org/Engage/Initiatives/Age-Friendly-Health-Systems/Pages/default.aspx
- Join our Action Community: http://www.ihi.org/Engage/Initiatives/Age-Friendly-Health-Systems/Pages/Join%20the%20Movement.aspx