Special Support for Nurses

Posted on December 30, 2012 by VITAL WorkLife

Nurse smiling small-1

In our work with healthcare organizations, we have found that nurses are often the highest utilizers of EAP services. As we've worked with them, and followed the research around nurses, their challenges at work and in their personal lives, we felt that it was important to provide additional resources to them—and their organizations—to ensure that we were meeting their specific needs as effectively as possible.

Most nurses enjoy taking care of others—it's what drew them into their profession and provides satisfaction throughout their careers. Caregiving at its best has mutual benefits for nurse and patient. It's a job that requires hard work, discipline and the emotional resilience to help patients, especially those in severe pain or distress, or in the process of dying.

Between organizational challenges such as EMR, new healthcare initiatives, increased responsibilities and cost and productivity pressures, and patients that want to diagnose and treat themselves by Google, nurses face unprecedented levels of job stress. Self-sacrifice is often taken to unhealthy extremes as nurses struggle to meet demands at work and in their personal lives.

The most important thing nurses can do for themselves, their patients and the people they love is to make self-care their priority. Parents traveling with children are always cautioned to put on their own oxygen masks first—because if they pass out while putting masks on their children, nobody survives. The same idea obtains for nurses.

Nurse Peer Coaching

Designed for Nurses by Nurses

In addition to counseling by our highly-qualified EAP consultants, VITAL WorkLife now provides confidential, one-on-one nurse peer coaching for nurses. Why? Sometimes, even as they provide support for their patients, nurses are reluctant to ask for help—yet they're often in desperate need of a compassionate listener who understands the enormity of the work, life and family challenges they sometimes face—and has walked in their shoes. That help is just a phone call away at 800.383.1908.

Nurses often consult nurse peer coaches when they are experiencing:

  • Unusual levels of stress or anxiety
  • "Horizontal hostility" or bullying from other nurses or staff
  • Disruptive behavior from or friction with physicians
  • Negative feedback from peers, patients or other staff
  • Concerns about substance abuse or other addictive behaviors
  • Difficulty balancing the demands of family and work responsibilities
  • For nurse leaders, issues specific to workplace challenges such as conflict or staff-related concerns

Our nurse peer coaches can be a confidential and knowledgeable sounding board for discussing concern, grief or anxiety over patient outcomes, professional issues, job pressures and more.

About Our Nurse Peer Coaches

Our nurse peer coaches are all experienced nurses who have been specially trained to help other nurses in identifying and addressing personal and work-related stressors, and to help them address these issues productively and effectively. They work in tandem with our expert EAP counseling staff and sessions with them are considered normal EAP sessions a nurse is eligible for as part of his or her EAP plan.

As part of their work with nurses, nurse peer coaches encourage their clients to take personal responsibility for making their situations better through improved self-care, stress management, self-empowerment and communications. If significant conflict is identified, nurse peer coaches encourage nurses to work within existing organizational systems to resolve work-related issues in a non-adversarial manner.

Easy to Use—and Confidential

Sessions with nurse peer coaches are telephonic and available to the extent provided by each nurse's specific EAP plan. All a nurse needs to do to work with a nurse peer coach is to call the same phone number they would call for any of their EAP services—800.383.1908. They can ask immediately to set up an appointment to speak with one of our nurse peer coaches. Sometimes, they may be referred to a nurse peer coach by their VITAL WorkLife counselor if it is felt a nurse could benefit from the unique support a nurse peer coach would provide.

As with all of our EAP services, nurse peer coaching is entirely confidential unless there is felt to be a risk of imminent danger to the client or others or patient safety is believed to be at risk. It is provided during normal business hours unless arrangements can be made in special cases for after hours consultations, based upon availability.

Training and Consulting

We also have training on a number of nurse-specific topics, which can be implemented organization-wide or in workgroups. Topics include Nurse Leadership Training, Increasing Self-Awareness, Compassion Fatigue, and Intentional Self-Care and Work/Life Balance, among others. We also can provide consulting to address issues specific to workgroups and teams in your organization, such as improving communication or addressing performance or behavioral issues. 

Pathways to Well Being Call VITAL WorkLife at 800.383.1908.

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