GSHCS to Address Challenges Facing Health Care Workers

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Good Shepherd Health Care System recently received a grant for nearly $50,000 to address well-being challenges faced by health care workers. Pictured left to right: Community Counseling Solution’s Qualified Mental Health Professional Liz Courtney, Good Shepherd’s Director of Community Health & Outreach Jessica Reker, and Good Shepherd’s Health & Wellness Coordinator Kristin Mitas. (Photo courtesy of GSHCS)

A grant received by Good Shepherd Health Care System will be used to address well-being challenges among health care workers.

In May 2023, Good Shepherd was chosen as a recipient of the Oregon Center for Nursing’s “RN Well-being Program” grant.

This grant, titled, “Employee Well-being Improvement Project,” aims to address specific well-being challenges amongst health care workers such as the consistent downplaying of personal needs, and stress management in nurses and support staff. GSHCS was one of 18 healthcare organizations to receive a grant totaling $49,885.

In the most recent survey conducted by the Oregon Center for Nursing, 97% of 5,000 Oregon nurses reported experiencing a work-related stressor.  The top three stressors identified were heavy or increased workload, uncertainty about when health care will settle down, and burnout overall.

Good Shepherd’s Vice President of Nursing Brian Patrick, RN, MSN, MBA, MICN, ACHE, explained the positive impact the grant will have on the community.

“At Good Shepherd, education opportunities and well-being support of our workforce is one of our highest priorities,” he said. “To build a high-quality healthcare system, you must invest in your most important asset, and that is our staff.”

“Being awarded this grant is a blessing. Not only to our organization, but also to our community,” Patric said. “When we invest in the education and well-being of our staff, we are investing in our ability to deliver safe and high-quality healthcare to our patients. That, in turn, is an investment in the healthcare of our community. We are very appreciative of this award, and very thankful for the privilege of serving Eastern Oregon.”

Good Shepherd utilized the grant funds by directing all toward a contractual partnership with a local Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP) – Community Counseling Solutions.  This QMHP performs individual counseling sessions and leads group counseling sessions on-site at the hospital, with virtual options available to staff working remotely. The goal is for Good Shepherd employees to develop personal coping mechanisms to handle workplace stressors.

Nursing staff leadership are excited for this opportunity.

“When nurses use counseling services such as this, we can see a clear connection to decreased turnover, an increase in performance and productivity, and general mood improvement,” said Good Shepherd’s Nursing Supervisor Manager Angela Christman.

Success will be determined if the project shows a clear connection between counseling sessions and increased employee well-being. The intended goal is to continuously improve project participant well-being during the entirety of the 24-month grant and far beyond its completion.

This grant was made possible by Good Shepherd’s Community Health & Outreach and Wellness team including Jessica Reker, director of Community Health & Outreach; Kristin Mitas, Health & Wellness Coordinator; and Community Counseling Solution’s Liz Courtney, Qualified Mental Health Professional.

“We would like to thank Oregon Center for Nursing for this funding,” said Reker.  “Good Shepherd Health Care System is committed to employee well-being and taking care of our own, so we can better help others. This aligns with our GSHCS mission to improve the health of our community.”

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