Delivery of Care

When workers deliver in the work place, how is their hard work recognized?

Care New England will receive a “Superior Award” from the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island for instituting worksite wellness programs

Photo courtesy of Care New England

Health care workers at Care New England.

By Richard Asinof
Posted 8/7/23
An exploration of what it means when a hospital receives an award for its efforts to institute to workplace wellness programming to support its workforce.
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PROVIDENCE – At a time when the demands placed upon the health care workforce have increased exponentially, the question is: How are employers responding to the mental health needs of those delivering the care to patients?

One answer, it seems, is to publicly honor the companies for their worksite wellness programs, recognizing efforts to support their employees during these stressful times within the health care delivery landscape.

In September, a celebratory breakfast will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick, at which Care New England is slated to receive a ‘Superior Award” for their support of employees’ physical and emotional well-being over the past year. Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island are presenting the award.

What makes such an award newsworthy are the ongoing signs of stress within the delivery of health care services in the aftermath of three years of recovering from the COVID 19 pandemic and the financial difficulties that many hospitals, nursing homes and community health centers are experiencing.

In response to a news release about the award, ConvergenceRI reached out to Doreen Scanlon Gavigan, the public relations manager at Care New England, asking questions about the content of the worksite wellness campaign.

In turn, the questions were answered by Lindsay Scardino, senior manager, Benefits, at Care New England

ConvergenceRI: What is the significance of the worksite health award from Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI and the Providence Chamber of Commerce?
SCARDINO: Care New England and BCBSRI enjoy a collaborative relationship with a mutually aspirational goal of creating and promoting a healthier workforce. Receiving this notable award from a valued partner, as well as the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, highlights CNE’s continued commitment to employee health and well-being.

ConvergenceRI: What are the most significant stressors in the health care workplace, given the pressures around staffing and patient care?
SCARDINO: The overall demanding nature of the health care industry was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in high demand for services, and heavy patient loads.

Staffing challenges due to the pandemic, as well as health care professionals leaving the industry or retiring, continue to be a source of stress for clinical staff, but this is an issue that CNE is proactively working to remedy. CNE continues to be overwhelmingly proud of our staff’s dedication to patient care.

ConvergenceRI: Are there specific team-building approaches that Care New England had adapted/adopted to improve the workplace culture?
SCARDINO: Care New England encourages all employees to be involved in wellness programs and higher levels of employee engagement. For example, a Diversity and Inclusion Committee has been established at each operating unit and features a monthly meeting that any CNE employee is welcome to attend.

During these meetings, employees are encouraged to communicate the goals and aspirations of their culture to fellow employees as well as discuss any barriers. CNE partners with various vendors, including BCBSRI, which offer virtual webinars for CNE employees on a variety of topics including addressing burnout and work/life balance. Hospital leadership also regularly communicates with staff to solicit feedback and opinions.

ConvergenceRI: What strategies are in place to support caregivers to help nurses, doctors, aides, and technicians cope with burnout?
SCARDINO: CNE has focused on realistic ways for clinical staff to manage their stress throughout their workday to ensure they are taking time to put their own needs first, especially from a mental health perspective.

This includes the use of well-being apps [such as Headspace] or watching short, guided videos for meditation or breathing exercises through our Employee Assistance Program. Special yoga and massage events are also offered throughout the year.

Some worksites have established ‘quiet rooms’ for employees to be able to take a few minutes to decompress.

CNE also has a behavioral health therapist on staff who is available specifically for CNE employees, offering one-on-one in-person sessions and can accommodate scheduling around employees’ busy work schedules.

ConvergenceeRI: Will there be specific badges or other kinds of recognition that will be given to members of the team in honor of the award?
SCARDINO: Care New England is appreciative of having received this notable distinction and will be proactively sharing this news with more than 7,500 team members.

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