Caring for Those Who Provide Care
The numbers are sobering: A 2017 survey by Kronos Incorporated of more than 250 nurses working in hospitals across the U.S. found 98% said their work was physically and mentally demanding; 63% said their work has caused nurse burnout; and 44% worried patient care will suffer because they are so tired.
It’s an issue hospitals and health systems around the country are dealing with, and trying to find solutions for.
They have to take time to fill themselves back up and take time to fill their own spirits back up.
Peoria, Illinois-based OSF HealthCare has more than 4,500 nurses employed across 13 hospitals in Illinois and Michigan. Leadership has initiated work groups across the OSF ministry to address some of the challenges facing the nursing staff, including the simplest things like finding ways to take a lunch break during their shift.
“We know that they often say I can do it for 12 straight hours and we want them - we need them - to take their lunch breaks. And so we’re doing a whole session just to have them help us figure out how they can let go of their duties and really take a break because we want that for them. We know that they need that for their spirits and their souls, and for their physical bodies,” explained Lori Wiegand, Chief Nursing Officer, OSF HealthCare.
In addition to ongoing efforts to address the challenges facing nurses, a regular recognition program has been established to honor their hard work. This year’s featured speaker was Julianna Zobrist, social media influencer, pop music artist, inspirational speaker, charitable advocate, and wife of Chicago Cubs player Ben Zobrist.
She visited patients and staff at OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois prior to her speech, which focused on unity, not uniformity. Julianna encouraged those in attendance to invest in themselves on a daily basis and to appreciate what they have been called to do.
“It’s the idea that when we collaborate and we work together as a group that that's really where our true strength lies is in knowing what our gifts are individually, and then being willing to exercise those gifts and allow other women and men to exercise the gifts they’ve been given,” said Julianna Zobrist. “Much like you see in this hospital complex that everyone has their own areas of expertise and that it takes that, it requires that, for it to be successful.”
Wiegand added “Providing care and finding the compassion every day and every moment does take heart and soul and so our nurses, when they give they have to take time to fill themselves back up and take time to fill their own spirits back up.”
OSF HealthCare is an integrated health system owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, headquartered in Peoria, Illinois. OSF HealthCare employs nearly 21,000 Mission Partners (employees) in 126 locations, including 13 hospitals - 9 acute care, 4 critical access - and two colleges of nursing throughout Illinois and Michigan. Its physician network employs more than 1,200 primary care, specialist physicians, and advanced practice providers. OSF HealthCare operates an extensive network of home health services; owns OSF Saint Francis, Inc., comprised of healthcare-related businesses; and OSF Healthcare Foundation, the philanthropic arm for the organization. More at www.osfhealthcare.org.