Health Care Wellness

Practicing Gratitude Can Help Keep Burnout at Bay

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ORANGE CITY, Fla., - With the Thanksgiving season on the horizon, three clinical leaders from AdventHealth DeLand and AdventHealth Fish Memorial recently published a timely, first-of-its-kind research study in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing.

The study revealed how practicing gratitude by journaling can help decrease perceived stress and burnout for healthcare professionals while also elevating feelings of gratefulness.

Michele Johnson, chief nursing officer at AdventHealth Fish Memorial, Michele Lebron, chief nursing officer at AdventHealth DeLand, and Tammy Land, patient experience manager at AdventHealth Fish Memorial, worked with three other researchers from May through October of 2019 to evaluate the positive impact of keeping a gratitude journal. More than 400 team members participated in the research, inviting them to record three things that went well in their day, for 21 days.

AdventHealth Fish Memorial CNO, Michele Johnson practices her gratitude by writing three positives about her day.

“The idea really came to life as a way to help individuals who are caring for others daily take care of their own mental health,” Lebron said. “Nurses are confronted with helping our community deal with many of life’s greatest challenges, so we leaned into taking a closer look at ways we as nurses can keep doing our job to care for others, while also caring for ourselves.”

The study noted that healthcare professionals nationwide report stress and burnout as the biggest barriers to job satisfaction. Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the stressors experienced by healthcare workers included time constraints, workload, and challenging work circumstances, along with working multiple roles.

“We wanted to do something that our patients would benefit from,” Land, who is responsible for monitoring patient feedback, explained. “When our team felt happier or said things in a positive way, it also reflected positively on patients’ care experience.”

AdventHealth continues to innovate to improve the experience of patients and alleviate burnout among clinical teams. Following the pandemic, the organization invested in “virtual nurses” to help reduce the workload on bedside nurses. This allowed nurses to spend more time with their patients while providing them with additional caregivers. As a result, the retention rate for nurses working at the bedside improved significantly.

“These results are something I, personally, am grateful for” says Johnson. “Knowing our nurses are experiencing greater joy in their roles, which in turn gives a better experience to our patients, makes me smile.”

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