Silver Spring, MD – In response to the growing burden of stress and moral distress on the nation’s nurses as they valiantly care for patients on the frontlines of the pandemic, the American Nurses Foundation (the Foundation), the philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association (ANA), announced the launch of the national Well-being Initiative designed specifically for nurses across the U.S. These new resources will help nurses build resilience and take necessary steps to manage the stress and overcome the trauma caused by COVID-19.
The Well-being Initiative gives nurses access to digital mental health and wellness-related sources, tools and more to support their emotional well-being while taking care of those affected by the virus. Developed ‘for nurses by nurses,’ the Foundation partnered with the American Nurses Association (ANA), the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA).
“Nurses are putting their physical and mental health on the line to protect us all during this pandemic. Every day they confront traumatic situations while they face their own worries about the risks to themselves and their families,” said Kate Judge, executive director, American Nurses Foundation. “Nurses are always there for us and we owe it to them to support their well-being during this crisis and in the future.”
Recognizing individuals process stress, trauma and anxiety differently, nurses will have the option to join virtual groups, express thoughts through writing workshops or talk one-on-one. The comprehensive offering includes both responsive measures (peer-to-peer conversations, warmlines, hotlines, cognitive processing techniques) and preventive actions (stress reduction, mindfulness and educational materials):
- Nurses Together: Connecting through Conversations – there is significant value in peer support during times of crisis and these virtual voice and/or video calls provide nurses a safe space to openly talk about self-care and wellness, recovery and resilience, care dilemmas and bereavement. Led by the ENA these are one-hour, volunteer-led calls for nurses.
- Narrative Expressive Writing – writing is a proven and effective tool for building resilience, improving mindfulness, and reducing psychological distress. In this five-week program, nurses respond anonymously to COVID-19-related writing prompts. A certified responder reads individual’s submissions and provides confidential feedback.
- Happy App – emotional support is critical, especially for nurses tackling anxiety, stress, daily life and death decisions, fear, and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This easy-to-use smart phone app connects nurses one-on-one to a Support Giver team member 24/7.
- Moodfit Mobile App – self-care is critical for nurses, even more as work and life stresses mount during the COVID-19 pandemic. This mobile app, customized for nurses, will support them with wellness goals and activities. Nurses can set and track their own goals for sleep, nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and other activities.
- Self-Assessment Tool – an important part of self-care for nurses is understanding and connecting with their mental health needs. This evidence-based tool recommended by APNA will help nurses identify symptoms, understand if they need to seek help, and direct them to relevant resources.
- Hotlines and Provider Resources – evaluated and recommended by the Foundation and its partners, these resources include instructions for finding mental health providers, how to get a referral, and what to look for in a provider.
A 2017 study found 63% of hospital nurses reported burnout. During the COVID-19 pandemic the rate of burnout is expected to increase even more as the mental and physical strain and moral distress take its toll on nurses. This underscores the essential need for these tools and resources. If you are a nurse and want to join the peer-to-peer conversations, download the apps or use the tools visit the Well-being Initiative.
In addition to the Well-being Initiative, the Foundation partnered with Nurses House, Inc., a nurse-managed, non-profit organization dedicated to helping registered nurses in need to offer direct financial assistance. The COVID-19 Fund, a one-time grant of $1,000, is for qualified nurses, including LPNs, who are ill with COVID-19, caring for a family member with COVID-19, or who are under employer mandated quarantine due to virus. Find more information on the COVID-19 grant here.
Generous donations made by corporate partners, foundations and individuals to the American Nurses Foundation Coronavirus Response Fund made it possible for the Foundation and its partners to provide nurses with these critical resources and financial support at a time when they need it most.
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About the American Nurses Foundation
The American Nurses Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association (ANA), with the mission to transform the nation’s health through the power of nursing. The Foundation supports research, education, and scholarships, which improve health, wellness, and patient care. For more information visit www.nursingworld.org/foundation.
About the American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org.