How Sparrow is combatting nurse burnout

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The pandemic is taking a toll on America’s health care experts, and many are even leaving the profession.

Even our heroes get burned out.

Nurses have been on the frontlines throughout the entire pandemic, but as Covid-19 cases continue to drag on, some have just had enough.

“They have a lot to do and a lot of patients to care for and the patients are sick and they’re feeling like they’re running from one patient to another and they’re not able to provide the best care they have been in past years.”, said Amy Brown, the Chief Nursing Officer at Sparrow Hospital.

She says she keeps a close eye on her staff, asking them a series of questions to make sure they are mentally and physically ok.

“How are you sleeping, are you getting anything to eat, how can we help is something that I often ask.”

Brown says like many hospitals across the county Sparrow is seeing a shortage in nurses but in a specific area…

“Right now I would say that probably Covid unites [us], that’s where I think we have seen the most nurses leave that unit or units because I think the burn out there is much higher.”

Sparrow is offering mental health courses and sessions to help nurses from feeling drained.

Brown says they have also created the lavender room at the Sparrow, a place that has snacks and massages chairs so health care workers can unwind.

But when times get tough, Brown says she always reminds the nurses why they’re here

“You know things aren’t going to be this way we are in a moment of time right now and to really reflect on all the good things they do in our community. It may not be exactly the way it used to be but they’re still doing very wonderful things for their patients.”

The following quote comes from Tina Ray, president of the Professional Employee Council of Sparrow Hospital, the Michigan Nurses Association’s local bargaining unit for nurses and healthcare professionals at Sparrow Hospital (PECSH-MNA). 

“Nurses and other healthcare professionals are beaten down and left with a sense of moral distress while facing yet another COVID-19 surge. Frontline workers are experiencing grief and loss.  As one nurse told me: ‘We went from healthcare heroes to healthcare zeros.’ Staff are down in the trenches working day-to-day without enough resources to provide for patients. As a union, we have proposed a number of substantive solutions to recruit and retain the Caregivers we need. Sparrow executives have yet to respond to our suggestions. It seems like they would rather put money into new facilities than staffing the hospital that is already built. We need them to do better.”

Tina Ray, RN, President of PECSH-MNA

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