Earlier this year UAMS Health was one of only six health organizations across the United States selected by the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare to participate in the center’s inaugural Healing Healthcare Initiative (HHI).
The Schwartz Center, a national nonprofit dedicated to putting compassion at the heart of health care, developed this initiative to guide organizational leaders in reimagining how their workplace can better support the mental health and well-being of health workers.
I have had the privilege of working with representatives of the Schwartz Center along with several other UAMS Health leaders. One of the things we’ve talked about in recent sessions is becoming good listeners. We had one Zoom call where the facilitator greeted each new participant with the question, “How are you coming here today?” In other words, what else is on your mind, or what are you worried about that will keep you from being fully focused during the meeting. It was interesting to hear all the responses and to acknowledge that we all had other things on our mind.
We talked about trust and the importance of having relationships at work with colleagues you can confide in and who truly listen. As managers, coworkers and friends, we all feel better and have improved mental and physical health when we have someone we trust who can listen.
When someone needs to talk with you about a work or personal problem, try to focus on the facts and eliminate drama and hearsay. Here are some questions that will help create focus on the real issue:
- Do you need me to do something or should I just listen and let you vent?
- When did this start happening?
- How often does this happen?
- How much extra time do you spend on this?
- What are you neglecting because of this problem?
- Do you have a potential solution you’d like to talk about?
Since we began offering Schwartz Rounds in June 2019, I think people are more open to having difficult conversations with one another and sharing the emotional burden that healthcare workers often keep bottled up inside. This new program from the Schwartz Center is helping us grow in different but equally important ways.
One of our Vision 2029 goals is for UAMS to be the best employer for health care professionals in Arkansas. This new Schwartz program is designed to address six principles critical to achieving this goal:
- Diversity and Equity
- Inclusion, Voice and Choice
- Mental Health and Well-being
- Psychological and Physical Safety
- Team Cohesiveness and Collaboration
- Trust and Trustworthiness
I hope each of you has someone at UAMS that you can share your joys, fears, and sorrow with – someone who can help you heal when you need to and grow when you’re able. If you haven’t yet found that person, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Arkansas Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP services are available to employees as well as employee spouses and dependents who experience any form of personal distress, including grief, relationship counseling, stress management, elder care, anger management and work-related issues. Appointments are available at 1-800-542-6021.
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Jamie Travis, MNSc, RN-BC
What do you wish every patient knew: That this is their first traumatic event but it is not ours. We will get you through this
If you had $25 and an hour, where would you go: Somewhere I can sit and look at water
Coffee or Soda: Coffee
Mountains or Beach: Mountains as long as there is a water view
Car or Truck: Whatever can hold a family of 8!
Jamie Travis, MNSc, RN-BC, is the inpatient nursing director for the critical care unit and has worked at UAMS for 26 years. Her first job here was as a PCT, and she says the biggest changes she’s seen are the EPIC conversion and moving to the new patient tower.
She is from Redfield, and she and her husband have six children.
Her advice to nurses joining UAMS is, “You will find a shift, a leadership style and a patient population that you want to serve. Keep looking until you do because when you do you will thrive.”
She is motivated by building relationships and watching new nurses grow into their bedside or leadership role. “I love to serve people,” she said. “What better place to do that than when I have the opportunity to care for them at their most vulnerable times.”
Christina Davis, MNSc, RN, NE-BC
Reason I enjoy being a nurse: Connecting with people on a deeply intimate level, especially with elderly patients
Favorite thing to eat at UAMS: Beefy macaroni!
Favorite healthy food: Cucumbers
Dream job as a high schooler: Veterinarian
City or Country: Country
Christina Davis, MNSc, RN, NE-BC, joined UAMS 19 years ago as an RN on 4C, which was an ortho unit at the time. She now serves as nursing director for inpatient oncology and surgical services.
Christina is from North Little Rock and is married to her high school sweetheart. They have a 29-year-old son and a grandpup who loves to swing in the hammock with her. “I was the first for many things in my family, and I bet you can see it in my opinionated personality,” she said. “First child, grandchild, niece, and first to go to college. It definitely made an impact according to my three siblings that enabled me to believe I was in charge.”
She says the best advice she got was from her hiring CSM, who told her that it would not all be perfect and to allow herself some grace, especially during the first year. “It was OK to say I did the best I could today if I truly had,” she said. “Healthcare is not perfect: we are humans taking care of humans. It is important to know our worth and that you tried to do your best.
“H.M. was the first patient that I could not save despite the entire teams’ best effort, including the patient and family. He was gracious and grateful until the very end for all that we had done to support him and his wife. I learned that sometimes the hard work matters more than the final outcome. We all fell in love with our Louisiana man, and he loved us all as well.