The challenges of working in the U.S. health care system have been an existential threat to clinician well-being for years. The pandemic has only exacerbated the pressures confronting clinicians, accelerating the rates of depression, anxiety, burnout, moral distress, moral injury, trauma, grief, etc.
The Emotional PPE toolkit provides resources that clinicians and teams can use to support well-being. CAPC firmly believes that it is the responsibility of organization, state, and federal leaders to create a more supportive and sustainable environment for health care clinicians. We have included individual resources to normalize your experiences and help bridge the gap if you are struggling. However, we urge leaders to consider participating in advocacy and initiatives that can help change the U.S. health care landscape.
Get immediate help if you are in crisis.
CAPC offers confidential, open-to-all Debriefing sessions in which participants can share the challenges of their work and discuss coping strategies. Register.
What’s in the Toolkit
Individual Clinician Resources: If You Have 5-10 Minutes
Activities, videos, and practices for individual clinicians that can be completed in 5-10 minutes.
Framework from the Colorado COVID Healthcare Worker Resources to identify where your personal reactions are during times of increased stress. Useful to self-locate and take action as needed.
These tip sheets shared by Wendy Dean, MD provide practical ideas for individuals dealing with the impact of the pandemic and beyond.
Example discussion items and best practices for checking in with your buddy.
Evidence-based, interactive tools designed for health care workers to build resilience and recover from burnout. Includes "3 Good Things."
Short videos on breath, sensation, mindfulness, self-compassion, and gratitude.
Curated resources, videos, and practices to support coping with stress, burnout, and trauma.
2-5 minute videos on acknowledging and coping with grief, and downloadable guides for health professionals. Created by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation, Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network, the Association of Professional Chaplains, and the Oncology Nursing Society.
Individual Clinician Resources: If You Have 10-30 Minutes
Activities, videos, and practices for individual clinicians that can be completed in 10-30 minutes.
CAPC's Breaking Point Podcast highlights health care workers from across the country sharing powerful and eye-opening stories from the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 'three-questions' framework that can be used to provide clarity when one is facing a moral challenge.
Step-by-step self-care guidance, including how to integrate self-care practices into your daily routine and team conversations.
Article from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses' journal on how to apply the E-PAUSE tool that assists in exploring ethical challenges, taking action, and reflection on lessons learned.
Individual Clinician Resources: If You Have 30-60 Minutes
Activities, videos, and practices for individual clinicians that can be completed in 30-60 minutes.
Join CAPC for these unique, informal, facilitated discussions where you can share common reactions to your demanding work and coping strategies that can diminish the consequences of this stress. Confidential and open to all.
Learn how reframing our understanding of clinician distress can lead to better solutions.
Catch up on best practices in addressing moral distress, uncertainty, and burnout from past CAPC webinars.
Team Wellness Planning: Cultivate Safety for Your Team
Team leaders play a significant role in creating an emotionally safe environment for their team. These resources include discrete programs and structural changes to improve clinician well-being over time.
This manual provides the training individuals need to successfully offer well-being debriefings in their organizations.
These tip sheets shared by Wendy Dean, MD provide practical ideas for leaders dealing with the impact of the pandemic and looking to reduce the challenges health care workers are facing.
Actions that palliative care teams and leaders can take to promote wellness.
Resources from the NAM Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience, organized into six essential elements: 1) Advance Organizational Commitment 2) Strengthen Leadership Behaviors 3) Conduct Workplace Assessment 4) Examine Policies and Practices 5) Enhance Workplace Efficiency 6) Cultivate a Culture of Connection and Support
Strategy, process, sample staff communications, and 'conversation checklists' for implementing a buddy system to support clinician well-being during COVID-19. Shared by the Mount Sinai Health System.
Actions that health care leaders can take to support the clinician workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Sample presentation for clinicians and managers on well-being. Shared by the Mount Sinai Health System, where it was delivered as a CME activity to staff.
Ways for health care facilities to support health care workers and increase resiliency.
Based on available literature and consensus among leading suicide prevention experts, this article from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement highlights three actions health care leaders can take to support workforce mental health and well-being.
Quick tips from the National Physician Suicide Awareness website on how to check in with physicians and anyone else who may be struggling.
Hire and onboard your staff, manage program operations, and ensure a healthy high-functioning team using this toolkit.
Team Wellness Planning: Advocate for Change
Creating a more sustainable workforce is a structural issue and requires systems-level advocacy. These resources support leadership development and connections with others working to support larger Emotional PPE efforts.
This NAM Action Collaborative focuses on systems-level action to improve clinician well-being and resilience. This website contains resources to improve organizational capacity to support health care workers. There is also an opportunity to join this collaborative to participate in national advocacy.
Advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General on action steps that all stakeholders (including payers and policymakers) must take to address the crisis of burnout, exhaustion, and moral distress across the health community.
Health Affairs online briefing examining physician burnout and broader issues confronting medical professionals.
Toolkit to support strategic planning, team leadership, and professional development for the palliative care leader.
On-demand CAPC webinars that focus on different aspects of leadership, including supporting teams.
Literature and Thought Pieces on Emotional PPE
Selected articles and research emphasizing the need to attend to clinician well-being and resilience.
Recognizing the needs of health care workers who serve as unpaid caregivers after clocking out for the day—and the added stress of the pandemic.
Short videos from the University of Kentucky's Moral Distress Education Project that describe commonly found themes in moral distress.
Insights from health care and military experts on how the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating burnout in health care professionals, and strategies to make it through this uncertain time.
Forbes piece on why language matters when we describe what clinicians are facing during the pandemic. November 2020.
Health Affairs blog by Rebekah Gee, CAPC's Diane Meier, and co-authors on the stigma attached to seeking help in US health care, and the need for systems and culture change in support of clinician well-being. July 10, 2020.
Relevant CAPC Events
On-demand CAPC webinars and Master Clinicians that address key considerations in supporting Emotional PPE.
In this on-demand webinar, panelists discuss stressors that have affected personal and team morale throughout the pandemic. They also discuss a framework for working through emotionally distressing issues, and more.
May 26, 2020 Master Clinician discussion with Ira Bedzow, PhD, Director of the Biomedical Ethics and Humanities Program at New York Medical College, and Senior Scholar at the Aspen Center for Social Values.
May 28, 2020 webinar with J. Bryan Sexton, PhD, Director of the Duke Center for Healthcare Safety and Quality.
In this Master Clinician session, Raymond F. Hanbury, PhD, ABPP, a trauma psychology specialist, will present a framework for understanding loss and grief, and offer guidance for a healthy response to these feelings.
This on-demand Master Clinician session will present and illustrate a systematic, case-based approach to managing expectations during times of uncertainty.
In this on-demand webinar, Amy Frieman, MD, MBA, FAAHPM, Chief Wellness Officer at Hackensack Meridian Health Network, discusses practical ways in which health care organizations can provide emotional PPE.
In this on-demand webinar, attendees learn how well-being debriefings help health care workers; how to obtain approval from leadership; techniques for facilitating debriefings, and more. Note that this is part one of a two-part webinar.
In this on-demand webinar, Vickie Leff, LCSW trains attendees to be peer facilitators for well-being debriefings, providing the skills needed to bring this technique to their organizations.
In this on-demand webinar, panelists share how to lead a team that is emotionally stressed or distressed during trying times, such as a pandemic. They also answer questions about sustaining motivation and team health, and more.
On-demand webinar that covers resilience from several perspectives: 1) taking steps towards work-life balance 2) recognizing burnout and fostering resilience in oneself as a program leader 3) role of the care program leader in addressing team burnout.
Andrew E. Esch, MD, MBA
Senior Education Advisor
Constance Dahlin, MSN, ANP-BC, ACHPN, FPCN, FAAN
Center to Advance Palliative Care
Stacie Sinclair, MPP
Associate Director, Policy and Health Care Transformation
Brynn Bowman, MPA
Chief Executive Officer, Center to Advance Palliative Care
Jennie L. Dulas