In the war against COVID-19, nurse leaders are facing daily challenges like never before. Even as you heroically care for your patients, the safety and emotional wellbeing of your team are understandably one of your many concerns. With that in mind, here are a few tips for how you can help take care of your frontline staff during a crisis:
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst: If your facility is not currently in a hotspot, you and your team can prepare for the unexpected. Now is the time to create your plan to mitigate whatever situation may arise, such as a lack of equipment, a surge in census, or several team members falling ill at once.
Communicate: Timely and accurate information is essential in any kind of crisis. That’s why you should consider holding pre-shift and post-shift huddles. Along with the critical information you need to pass on to your team, you can also use this time to speak a few words of encouragement and support.
Get everyone on board: Every team is different, but there’s usually someone who tries to take on too much. Other times, a team member may only do what he or she is asked to do or may even not know how they can help. As a nurse leader, you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your individual team members and act accordingly. Relieve your overachievers when possible, encourage everyone to unite for the fight, and assign tasks to the people who aren’t sure how they can contribute.
Take breaks when possible: Long hours, stress, and fatigue take a toll on everyone, and a 12-hour shift can be grueling even during normal operations. That’s why you should incorporate rest cycles, team rotations, and half-days into your staffing schedules during a crisis. While this might be difficult to achieve, it’s still important that you and your team are allowed to take the time to recharge. When you do, you can more easily avoid mistakes and burnout.
Appreciate your team: In the days and weeks ahead, you and your team will be going into a tough fight, and there will be trauma. You’ll need to handle these situations with compassion, emotional intelligence, and validation. Praise your team members whenever you can, help turn any mistakes into learning opportunities, and try to create some good memories for your team. In all this uncertainty, it’s easy to forget that Nurses Week (May 6 – 12) is coming up soon. Fortunately, there’s no better time to celebrate your team and recognize their amazing efforts.
While these tips are likely just a quick reminder for most nurse leaders, we want you to know that Medical Solutions is here to support you and your team now and in the future. If you need help finding temporary staff or just want to talk with someone, please contact us. Thank you for caring for our communities, and good luck!