Do You Care?

Feb 28, 2021 | Conversation, Wellness

“In January, I facilitated an online wellness session for healthcare workers in the Methodist Health System, Texas. As my client and I discussed plans for the event, it became clear that it should be less a learning and more a listening opportunity. Rather than hear me talk about the value of conversation for human connection, we structured the event so that I could moderate a discussion with two primary healthcare staff and the attendees. They were able to share experiences about feeling disconnected and emotionally exhausted and how they found solace and meaningful support.

The challenges faced by these healthcare workers is not unusual, but commonplace. After nearly a year of the pandemic, there is a conspicuous lack of support for healthcare workers. In this New York Times article, “American Nursing is Having a Crisis,” about nurse burnout and the dire state for the future of nursing, Theresa Brown quotes one nurse saying, “Nobody ever says to the staff, ‘How are you doing?’” and another nurse similarly observing, “Nobody cares. The illusion that the institutions that employ us ever cared about us is shattered.”

This month I am facilitating 15 Fireside Chats for the Wellness Council of America. The theme is resilience and each Fireside Chat has a different expert speaker engaging in a discussion around a particular aspect of resilience. One of the experts, Jason Lauritsen, pointed out that before we push on to staff the task of being resilient, we should first enable the circumstances for them to build up that fortitude by offering compassion. In his writing on that subject, Lauritsen points out how one of the key elements of building our compassion requires knowing people better. In short, making a bolder effort to be more curious and to actively listen to what we hear about the real lives, experiences, and emotional states of the people around us.

In the article, “American Nursing is Having a Crisis,” Brown writes that, “A doctor colleague who worked closely with nurses his entire career told me that until he read my book “The Shift,” he had no idea what nurses do all day.”

Is that a level of staff disregard from colleagues and from the institution that you see in your workplaces? It has to be addressed. Start authentic conversations. Start them now.

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