Title: Building Resilience in Leaders: Addressing Moral Distress in a Pandemic
As nurse leaders, we are living in unprecedented times. Covid-19 has significantly impacted not just the way we live our lives, but also the way we work in healthcare. Overworked and anxious staff members need strong, supportive, and intuitive leaders like never before. Needs that seemed trivial or unimportant during times of routine care have become magnified during these trying times. This “perfect storm” of external and internal pressures has led to skyrocketing rates of moral distress – knowing the ethically correct action to take but feeling powerless to take that action – in nurses from the bedside level to the C-suite. Under prolonged, pervasive moral distress, nurses begin to lose focus. Left unchecked, this moral distress leads to decreased quality of patient care, a higher number of medical errors, higher rates of burnout, and increased staff call-offs, make a stressed and short staff that much shorter! To address moral distress, nurse leaders must not only remain resilient, but also provide our staff opportunities to build resiliency even as they struggle to provide care. Reinforced by the Institute of Medicine’s Report on the Future of Nursing (2011), it is essential to not only recognize the attributes essential to nursing leadership, but also support and develop these attributes. Resilient and supportive nurse leaders can guide their teams to bolster confidence and adaptability: valuable skills during routine times, and essential skills during times of change and crisis, when nurses must make decisions often with incomplete information. Capella University, partnering with the medical education company Osmosis, has developed a series of bite-sized, innovative videos that address the concepts necessary in sustaining and building resilience, leading to lower levels of caregiver stress and distress, higher levels of coping, increased resilience and stronger support for teams. Based on the need to develop trust in teams and address myths as well as valid issues, these learning modules are effectively educating providers in ways to sustain and develop resilience. From instructing on how to develop a multi-disciplinary team to providing relief for caregivers, these modules provide step-by-step, easy to follow and supportive information that can transform nursing leadership. Through short learning bursts we can collaborate with other healthcare disciplines to support our providers. These modules clearly and succinctly address the moral distress and resiliency concerns in innovative and effective ways.