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Advocating for the Use of the Impact Wellbeing™ Guide: Tips for Healthcare Workers

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Cover of the Impact Wellbeing Guide, with a male African American physician speaking to a female white hospital executive. He is speaking and she is listening.

The Impact Wellbeing Guide helps hospital leaders remove barriers to wellbeing. It also helps leaders to collaborate with healthcare workers, like you, to cultivate a healthy work environment. We designed the Guide for hospital leaders, since they have the ability to change policies and practices. However, as healthcare workers, you can help by sharing the Guide with leaders.

You can use these tips to talk to leadership about implementing the Guide in your organization.

Approach leadership as a group

By approaching leadership as a group, you can show leaders your collective interest in making systems-level changes for improved wellbeing. Labor-management committees or shared governance bodies are a good place to start. Your hospital might have a committee for health and safety or environment of care.

If your hospital doesn’t have a committee like this, consider getting buy-in from your peers and approach leadership together. Shared decision-making between frontline workers and leaders is a cornerstone of the Impact Wellbeing Guide. Speak with other healthcare workers at your organization about how the Guide helps address their needs. Share how they can engage in the Actions.

Choose the right timing

In the final step of the Impact Wellbeing Guide, hospitals create a long-term Professional Wellbeing Plan. It may be helpful to share the Guide with leadership ahead of key planning milestones. This timing can help incorporate wellbeing efforts into regular planning processes.

Have talking points ready

Below are some talking points on wellbeing and burnout you can adapt:

  • Our hospital’s existing efforts focus on individual support resources like Employee Assistance Programs, and appreciation events. These are helpful, but the Guide will help us address the underlying factors that impact healthcare worker wellbeing. Your investment in the Actions outlined in the Guide will help me feel safer and respected at work. It would show you’re working on improving the system.
  • Removing administrative and operational burdens that contribute to burnout benefits both workers and patients. As healthcare workers, feeling our best allows us to focus on delivering high-quality care to our patients.
  • The Guide can also help increase the use of current mental health and wellbeing services.

If you have a union, they can survey members to provide information specific to your hospital. For example, the union can ask members about their stress levels, or whether they avoid using the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) due to confidentiality concerns.

When you develop your talking points, use the sections below to expand on these topics.

Reducing burnout and moral injury

Talk about how burnout and moral injury have impacted the healthcare workforce. Then, explain how the Guide complements existing efforts to reduce them. Ask for additional efforts to promote wellbeing. Your leaders have a responsibility for the safety and health of you and your colleagues.

A proven resource

Explain how this is a proven resource. To ensure that its steps are achievable, the Impact Wellbeing Guide was tested for usability. Six CommonSpirit Health hospitals in varying regions within the United States tested it over a six-month period.

Additional benefits

Explain how wellbeing work can result in a multitude of benefits. Hospital leaders often face competing priorities and challenges finding more funding and time for projects to improve the workplace. Because of this, it’s important to explain the long-term benefits. Addressing professional wellbeing now not only reduces burnout, but can also help protect a hospital’s workforce and operations in the future.

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Cost Saving

Burnout is costly across many different healthcare departments and job types. Studies have found that burnout-associated turnover costs are approximately $17,000 and $7,600 per employed nurse and physician per year, respectively.1,2 You can also illustrate costs through tools such as the American Medical Association’s Organizational Cost of Physician Burnout Calculator.3

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Accelerate Existing Work

The Impact Wellbeing Guide can complement and accelerate other wellbeing initiatives in place. By addressing process and operational burdens that contribute to burnout, leaders can promote a thriving healthcare workforce and hospital.

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Hospital leaders can also receive recognition for prioritizing these efforts. For example, the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation has compiled a list of health systems that have removed intrusive language from their credentialing applications. This can help workers know your hospital is a safe place to work, enhancing recruitment and retention efforts.

Woman in medical scrubs sits in the drivers seat of a parked car, looking at her phone. She is a White woman with dark hair.

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It is important to ensure your own wellbeing while you advocate for change. We encourage you to get help if you need mental health care or substance use disorder treatment. If you or someone you know are feeling distressed, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, free, confidential support. SAMHSA’s can also help you anonymously seek mental health treatment.

Total Worker Health® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

[1] Muir JK, Wanchek TN, Lobo JM, Keim-Malpass J [2022]. Evaluating the costs of nurse burnout-attributed turnover: A Markov modeling approach. J Patient Saf 18(4):351-357.

[2] Han S, Shanafelt TD, Sinsky CA, Awad KM, Dyrbye LN, Fiscus LC, Trockel M, Goh J [2019]. Estimating the attributable cost of physician burnout in the United States. Ann Intern Med 170(11):784-790.

[3] American Medical Association [2018]. Organizational cost of physician burnout. Chicago, IL: American Medical Association.