September 19, 2023

Leadership workshop: Effectively Coping with Stress–The Case for Wellness Integration

Editor's Note

Wellness is multidimensional. Wellness is more than just physical help. Wellness also includes mental, environmental, spiritual, social, and emotional considerations. Those are some of the lessons presented in this OR Manager Conference Workshop, “Effectively Coping with Stress—The Case for Wellness Integration,” presented by Kevin Merrigan, founder and director of Orlando Tai Chi + Qigong; Mike Ellrich, healthcare portfolio manager at research and management consulting company Gallop; and Katie Boston-Leary, PhD, MBA, MHA, RN, NEA-BC, director of nursing programs at the American Nurses Association.

It is not surprising that people everywhere are feeling overwhelmed, said the speakers, especially when considering how both the pandemic and post-pandemic periods have created a “perfect storm” for stress and burnout. Other highlights from the workshop include:

  • Burnout is present in 76% of all employees “at least sometimes,” and 36% in nurses, per Gallop metrics.
  • There are three dimensions of employee burnout: a feeling of energy depletion, increased mental distance from the work, and reduced professional involvement.
  • Women experience greater burnout than men; women multitask more than men.
  • There are five factors that employees express: unfair treatment at work, manageable workload, unclear communication, lack of manager support, and unreasonable time pressure.
  • The cause of 80% of occupational injuries is stress; after working for a “bad boss” for 5 years or more, 64% of employees are likely to develop a heart problem.
  • There is a ripple effect from feeling overwhelmed: 63% of employees will take sick days, half will not discuss how to approach goals, 23% will need to visit the emergency department, and employees are 2.5 times more likely to actively seek a different job.

Other highlights when considering the nursing workforce include:

  • Nurses are burnt out in part due to having so many non-nursing tasks added to the nursing role (eg, checking crash carts).
  • Generation Z nurses are the most stressed working group; nurses with more tenure tend to cope better in the professional space.
  • The Millennial workforce is leading the effort of not accepting to do the work “the way it is currently being done.”
  • Nurses are using skills learned in their nursing roles to leave the profession and be successful in different industries.

Employees need to conduct a “personal assessment” of themselves, said the speakers. “Ask yourself, what step are you on the ladder? Where do you want to be in 5 years?” That type of self-awareness should lead employees to invest in their own well-being and help them not to lose sight of their career, social, financial, community, and physical goals.

Attendees were exposed to several wellness tips and support strategies—including a live, interactive lesson on breathing and physical exercises—to deal with burnout, redirect stress, be more of a coach in leadership, and build resilience. “Think of work as sprints; not as one long marathon,” the speakers urged. “And when you ask your staff or anyone how they are doing, stop and listen to what they say.”


Join our community

Learn More
Video Spotlight
Live chat by BoldChat