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Resilience workshop helps Tri-State health care workers struggling after 'getting through the unknown'

Posted at 6:48 PM, May 09, 2022

CINCINNATI — Depression and anxiety soared by 25% during the first year of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. Among those effected were front line health care workers.

“It’s been very difficult, it’s been very emotional and kind of treacherous getting through the unknown," said Colleen Boyde, clinical manager of joint and spine on the third floor at The Christ Hospital. “Not only was it scary coming to work and being face to face with (COVID), but also the heaviness of potentially taking that home or exposing people.”

Boyde said she believes most health care workers still feel the anxiety.

“You’re constantly worrying even when you try to shut off your brain and give yourself that time to relax,” she said. “We’re in health care for a reason. We’re caring, compassionate people. So that puts a really heavy burden on somebody to always be wondering am 'I doing this correctly? Did I do enough?' A kind of that sense of guilt, 'Did I do everything for these people and the people they love?'”

That is why The Christ Hospital is putting a big emphasis on the mental health and well being of its employees.

During the months of April and May, the hospital is bringing in sports psychology and resilience expert Michael Sherman to host workshops for employees. Sherman is the founder of Mentally Tougher and teaches athletes, soldiers, health care workers and more how to intentionally change their mindset to overcome adversity.

“Particularly here we’re focused on resilience. The last couple of years in a health care population has really started to take a toll on everyone involved in health care,” Sherman said. “The fact they’re still in health care, to me, they are some of the most resilient people I have come into contact with.”

Sherman held a workshop at the hospital Monday.

“I spend a lot of time talking about self awareness and I think that that does people a lot of good not only recognizing inside themselves what’s going on but also how other people experience them in certain situations,” Sherman said. “I ask them to do a lot of introspective thinking about the impact they’re having on other people, the impact they’re having on relationships with patients, team members.”

Specifically when it comes to health care, Sherman proposed a mindset shift from focusing just on patient outcomes to focusing on the entire process that lead to the outcomes.

"A lot of times if nurses did everything they could, outcomes would typically get better. With COVID, not necessarily. The outcomes unfortunately were not getting better,” Sherman said. “(Instead) a process usually is controllable and you can stack some wins in the process to — yes we did everything we could, we worked together as a team, we provided the best standard of care for this patient and their family."

“We recognize the cost we all have had to pay and now we’re in a position to start replenishing that emotional bank and really start to reinvest in our people so we can continue to move forward,” said Shannon Asbach, clinical manager at The Christ Hospital Liberty emergency department.

Asbach said she was grateful for the workshop.

“When you have two years of dark times it’s hard to remember that you’re that bright spot (for patients). And it’s hard to be that bright spot for each other in times of darkness,” she said. "For me this ability to sit through this training is just remembering what bright spot I am for others and really remembering who are those bright spots for me.”

By next week, Sherman will have hosted 14 resilience workshops for more than 600 employees at the hospital.

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