NJ nursing support group touts wellness and stress management programs

The stress felt by nurses as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic was a major driver behind the establishment earlier this year of the New Jersey Nursing and Emotional Well-Being Institute, made possible through a grant from one year of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

According to Sue Salmond, director of NJ-NEW and executive assistant dean of the Rutgers School of Nursing, it’s not just about meeting the immediate post-pandemic needs of nurses, but about preparing them for long and successful careers a once the coronavirus is gone for good.

The goal is to advance well-being and increase resilience, or the ability to bounce back from stressors, and Salmond said such treatment cannot wait, whether individually or within health care organizations where systemic issues may need to be addressed.

NJ-NEW is currently promoting a set of five programs that nurses in New Jersey can use to not only help them, but to “get more people to understand how you go from stress to stress injury, to a true clinical diagnosis of stress”, according to Salmond.

Virtual Schwartz Rounds provide an online space where nurses can meet and share the challenges they have faced over the past two years, including the burden of coping with death and dying, and dealing with both isolation and public incivility.

Stress First Aid Train the Trainer, which Salmond says is derived from a model originally used for Navy combat officers, currently has nearly 40 participating organizations with another 20 ready to train. It emphasizes examining workers’ “vital signs” of stress and emphasizes problem solving instead of letting problems escalate to the point where they become unmanageable.

NJ-NEW will serve as the primary organization for coordinating workplace activities recommended in the The future of nursing report from the National Academy of Nursing, which Salmond says is a more forward-thinking initiative.

“I don’t want COVID, or the experience of COVID, to be a barrier for people considering entering the profession,” she said. “We see a lot of people leaving nursing, and we need to create resilient workplaces in order to have a healthy and available nursing workforce for our communities.

the Nurse2Nurse the hotline offers confidential peer support, especially crucial at a time when nurse suicides have seen an alarming rise, according to Salmond.

“For years, we used to talk about the high incidence of suicide among doctors above the non-medical population. Now nurses have certainly surpassed that,” she said.

And the NJ-NEW Wellness Center will be a catch-all for feedback on how different programs have worked, how they have been implemented in different organizations, and what nurses can bring from their personal experiences to the profession in New Jersey as a whole.

All of this, Salmond said, serves to assess the culture of a particular healthcare organization, determining whether it is an environment that enables both excellence in patient care and well-being. be of his staff.

If both goals aren’t met, she said, these five programs aim to close the gap and recognize the value of nursing within the broader health care framework.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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