Provider wellness group tackles strategies to support you

September 18, 2020 Providence Pulse Content Team

A group of your peers has volunteered their time and energy to participate in the Provider Wellness Leadership Cohort. The cohort formed to explore new ways to support Providence employed and affiliated providers, both during the pandemic and beyond. The volunteer group is working to create wellness strategies that will improve providers’ physical and emotional well-being.

“The Provider Wellness Leadership Cohort has been priceless for me. It has allowed me to connect with others from around the region. It has fostered inspiration and idea-sharing as we figure out the best way to support our colleagues in our ever-changing world.”
– Tricia James, M.D., chair, PPMC Wellness Committee

On a cold mid-February morning, 30 providers attended the first session of the Provider Wellness Leadership Cohort. Seated around five tables were providers – including physicians, nurse practitioners, psychologists and others – who expressed concerns for their teams, patients and themselves. All were united in their passion to strengthen provider wellness at Providence in Oregon.

Organized and facilitated by the Compassionate Care Team, the group identified shared interests, conceptualized wellness projects and forged new relationships with colleagues.

The original plan was straightforward. Providers throughout Oregon would meet in four half-day sessions; learn foundational information about wellness and culture change, burnout and remedies; and then develop wellness innovation projects. 

Funding was provided through a grant from the Independent Physician Organization of Oregon.  Project development expertise was provided by Strategic Management Services, and seven project managers volunteered to assist the providers in developing their projects. Following session one, each provider identified an executive leader with whom they could meet and discuss attitudes and opportunities for provider wellness. 

Everyone was excited about session two, which was scheduled for March 17. Then came COVID-19 and everything stopped.

However, the 30 members of the leadership cohort were not deterred. Once the immediate phase of the COVID-19 crisis was past, the provider group began meeting virtually. The discussion focused on creating community, which is especially important during times of turbulence and tumult. A new plan was developed with this priority in mind. 

Emphasis for the work changed from project development to personal and team development. Using a book by Frank Ostaseski, Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully, the group is discussing how to lead and live in the midst of crisis – a conversation that feels vibrant and relevant in our altered pandemic environment. 

“The Wellness Leadership Cohort has been an oasis, especially during this COVID pandemic. Being able to connect and collaborate regularly with fellow wellness leaders across the organization has been invaluable. After each time we meet, I return to our world of chaos and uncertainty with renewed energy and hope.”
– Scott
Nguy, FNP, CNM, PMG Lead APC, Providence Medical Group-Bethany

Each of the book’s five “invitations” inspires ideas for wellness during COVID-19, or during any difficult time:

  1. Don’t Wait: Emphasizes being open to what happens in the moment and using that to accept change and facilitate transformation
  2. Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing: Focuses on moving beyond wishing things were different toward accepting how things are
  3. Bring Your Whole Self to the Experience: Explores how our inner critical voice can affect our response to challenging times and how vulnerability makes us better leaders
  4. Find a Place of Rest in the Middle of Things: Cautions that we can’t wait for things to settle down before we must find a way to renew ourselves
  5. Cultivate a Don’t Know Mind: Values the ability to be curious and non-judgmental

It has been inspiring to see busy providers reading and reflecting on the material, bringing their wisdom and doubts into the shared group discussion, and connecting in a time of isolation.  These wellness leaders are now exploring new ways to strengthen themselves and finding inspiration for pursuing not only their own well-being, but the well-being of others. 

“The Provider Wellness Leadership Cohort has been a unique opportunity to create open dialogue about the challenges we as providers face while also creating a shared vision for improvement. Overall, this experience has felt like a big hug in this time of social distancing.”
Karina Squires, FNP, North Coast Wellness Champion


Authored by:
Mark Rosenberg, M.D., director, Compassionate Care Team
Becca Hawkins, ANP, MSN, director, Compassionate Care Team


About the Author

The Pulse content team focuses on bringing you the latest in clinical news from our world-class medical providers and physician leaders.

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