Nurse Leaders, Promote Resiliency During the Pandemic

January 19, 2021
Maggie A. Smith, DNP, MSN/Ed, RN, OCN

Maggie A. Smith is a director-at-large for the national Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), as well as nominating-chair and immediate-past president of the Chicago Chapter of ONS. Her clinical and research interest include being a voice for underrepresented and underserved populations. She is also, involved in community outreach and breast health education.

The wrath of the pandemic swept through our nation and continues to run rampant, testing our resiliency as nurses. Nurse leaders, we must continue to lead by example and remain a united front with our team.

Nurses continue to be ranked as the most trusted professionals and the COVID-19 pandemic has further validated the reason why. 1 Despite this fact, there is no denying that a severe workforce shortage in nursing continues to rise due to a combination of factors, many nurses are nearing retirement, fewer individuals are entering the nursing workforce, and nurses are leaving the profession due to burnout and unsatisfying work conditions. 2

As a nurse leader, you must maintain your resiliency and lead authentically. Authentic leadership describes a pattern of behavior in a leader that is characterized by efforts to help employees find meaning in their work; build optimism and commitment; encourage transparency and develop trusting relationships; and promote an inclusive and positive work environment.3

The wrath of the pandemic swept through our nation and continues to run rampant, testing our resiliency as nurses. Nurse leaders, we must continue to lead by example and remain a united front with our team.

Following are strategies that authentic nurse leaders should employ with their staff working during a pandemic:

  • Communicate with staff daily through, nursing rounds or town hall briefings. This ensures transparency and establishes trust.4
  • Be flexible when needed. This can help minimize undue stress and decrease staff calling off work.4
  • Encourage and share self-care strategies, limit shift times. and ensure that the staff has at minimum one full day of rest before returning to work. This helps decrease burnout and the risk for fatigue-related incidents in the workplace.4
  • Be visible and monitor your staff for signs and symptoms of fatigue, hunger, and exhaustion. Provide healthy snack options and allow them time to take a break. This shows the staff that you care and are concerned, after all, we are in this together.

Nurse leaders, these strategies are not meant to be inclusive; they are intended to provide you with resources to support your staff during stressful and difficult times. Develop strategies to empower nurses, create a positive work environment that fosters communication, and support your nursing team to maintain and improve work satisfaction.

References:

  • Gallup Poll (2020). U.S. ethics ratings rise for medical workers and teachers. Retrieved January 17, 2021 from, https://news.gallup.com/poll/328136/ethics-ratings-rise-medical-workers-teachers.aspx
  • Schub, T., and Heering, H. (2017). Evidence-Based Care Sheet: Empowerment and Professional Burnout in Nurses
  • Schub, T., and Heering, H. (2018). Evidence-Based Care Sheet: Leadership and empowerment.
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Managing fatigue during times of crisis: Guidance for nurses, managers, and other healthcare workers. Retrieved January 16, 2021, from, https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2020/04/02/fatigue-crisis-hcw/?deliveryName=USCDC_170-DM24834

Maggie A. Smith is a director-at-large for the national Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), as well as nominating-chair and immediate-past president of the Chicago Chapter of ONS. Her clinical and research interest include being a voice for underrepresented and underserved populations. She is also, involved in community outreach and breast health education.