Over the past two years, healthcare systems have faced unprecedented challenges. While the global pandemic forced some of the world to take a pause, the healthcare industry had to tackle the pandemic head on. In addition to dealing with the COVID-19 virus, emergencies, other illnesses, and accidents kept occurring—taking a heavy toll on healthcare systems and healthcare workers alike.
Shortly after the pandemic began, we saw a glimpse of how difficult this time was for healthcare professionals, as R3 Continuum responded to nearly 5,000 requests to support doctors and nurses and help them tap into their natural resiliency. While healthcare workers make miracles happen every day, they are human too—there is only so much they can take when it comes to their emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing being put under intense stress. They need support just like the rest of us.
During his presentation titled, “Looking Ahead: Behavioral Health at the Apex of Healthcare Organizational Success,” attendees were asked to participate in several polling questions. One of these questions was, “What concerns you about the future of healthcare?”
In response to this question, attendees could choose up to three of the five answer options. 72% said “Unsustainable Workloads,” 69 % said, “Systemic/Regulatory Issues Outweighing Quality Patient Care,” and 68% answered, “Decreased Morale.”
So what does this mean?
Those who are working within healthcare systems need support. When someone is mentally exhausted or feeling undervalued themselves, how can we expect them to continue giving the best care to others? Dr. Arvig simplified this concept, saying, “An employee who is mentally healthy is a better employee. Employees who are healthy contribute to making organizations thrive.”
R3 Continuum has supported nearly 200 hospital systems. Our clinicians have seen firsthand the importance of providing support to employees who need it. When people receive the right support at the right time, their lack of hope can turn into excitement for the future, and their thoughts of feeling stuck can shift to a more positive mindset of moving forward and making progress.
Not all hope is lost within the healthcare industry. When the audience was asked if they agree that their organization “has a vision for the future that gives me hope,” 40% of responders selected “Strongly Agree,” and 42% of responders selected, “Agree.”
How can organizations and leaders support healthcare workers?
Dr. Arvig offered these key takeaways:
- Mental health support for employees should be easy to find and access, in addition to being hard to ignore.
- Leadership, at every level, should help to support the behavioral health of employees.
- Hiring new employees is expensive. Invest in a culture that is hard to leave.
- In order for an organization to be successful, it must look to the future of behavioral health support. Past experiences can inform future choices but should not always dictate leadership decisions made.
While there is much work to do, no vision for the future of behavioral health in organizations can be realized without a sense of hope and the belief it is possible.
As a leader, it can be difficult to ensure you’re providing the best wellbeing and behavioral health support to your people. R3 Continuum can help. Whether your challenge is the behavioral health needs of your employees, workplace violence, leadership support, or disruption management, we offer tailored support solutions to meet the unique needs of your organization.