Regardless of COVID-19 variants, surges and vaccine administrations, health systems are preparing for the post-pandemic state.

A report by the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst (NEJM) underscores how healthcare leaders can guide their teams to a post-pandemic state that is even better than before.1 When detailing the three main themes, the report highlights the importance for leaders to move team members from a feeling of recuperation to a feeling of regeneration.

These three themes include:

  1. Focusing on the team, not just individuals

    Although the pandemic affected people individually, especially those within the healthcare space, recovering from the crisis alone has not shown favorable outcomes compared to having support in a group setting. Nurses and other frontline staff continue to be the focus of responding to the pandemic and therefore can feel underappreciated and exhausted. By facing the challenge and focusing on recovery as a team, hospitals can generate stronger bonds and help shield one another from potential burnout.

    “Addressing the experiences and changes occurring in and affecting teams is as important as addressing individual experiences during the pandemic. Team members need recognition of their individual and collective effort, pain, loss and accomplishment. They also, collectively, need to be able to put this period behind them and to look ahead with hope and renewed vigor and enthusiasm,” the article stated.

  2. Defining and marking the moment of transition from COVID-19

    Signals such as lower hospitalizations, declining case rates and increased vaccine administration are good indicators of progress in the pandemic. Hospital leaders can help make sense of and communicate when a transition into a post-pandemic hospital setting is on the horizon.

    The NEJM report further states that in order “to help move teams beyond recuperation toward regeneration, health leaders can spark a dialogue that both makes sense of what has happened as well as facilitates productive action.” When it comes to defining the moment when the uncertainty of COVID-19 is coming to an end, there are a variety of ways to generate conversation among staff and leadership. “Key ingredients include reflecting on, showing gratitude for, and drawing meaning from shared past experiences, and acknowledging this moment as not just the end to the crisis, but as the beginning of a new era,” noted the report.

  3. Spurring reflection among staff that enables action

    Research has found reflection is a critical component for learning, however within the healthcare setting it less likely to occur.2
    This is partially due to lack of time throughout the day to process all that has happened based on nature of the role and structure of responsibilities.

    Health leaders who implement reflection workshops and training into their teams’ schedule have begun to see improvements in not only their healthcare teams, but the operations of their entire facility. Reflecting and learning can come from both adaptive and maladaptive changes, offering the opportunity to select changes to retain and others to let go.

    Integrating reflection time with staff, whether through a brief session or a discussion held over a few hours, supplies hope for a better future beyond COVID-19 while helping them to feel validated in their feelings.

To learn how we can help your hospital prepare for a post-pandemic care setting, visit KindredRehab.com.


References:

  1. Singer, PhD, S., & Kerrissey, PhD, M. J. (2021). Leading health care teams beyond COVID-19: Marking the moment and shifting from recuperation to regeneration. NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery. Retrieved January 5, 2022, from https://catalyst.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/CAT.21.0169
  2. SJ Singer, SC Moore, M Meterko, S Williams. Development of a short-form learning organization survey: The LOS-27.Med Care Res Rev2012; 69:432-459 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1077558712448135.10.1177/1077558712448135.22635274
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