Mercy Gilbert launches program to help hospital staff cope with emotional weight - East Valley Tribune: Gilbert

Mercy Gilbert launches program to help hospital staff cope with emotional weight

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Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 6:45 am

A new program offered at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center has provided caregivers an outlet to discuss emotional issues related to their field.

Called the Schwartz Center Rounds, the voluntary program is a series of open forums that allows hospital staff, including doctors, nurses and social workers, a place vocalize the emotional distresses they face on a day-to-day basis. It’s the kind of problems Marty Breeden, the center’s vice president of mission integration, said “keeps us awake at 2 o’clock in the morning.”

“Some people do keep things in, but that’s a chance to get things out,” said Desiree Hernandez, who serves as a social worker at Mercy Gilbert. “It’s not necessarily that we hold it in, but we’re so busy.”

Breeden said the idea behind the forums is to “help the people who help the people,” and emphasize the human side of their industry. It’s not an easy thing to do, as Hernandez said staff members have a difficult time taking care of themselves due in large part to the hectic schedules she referenced.

Mercy Gilbert hosted the first in its series on July 23. Breeden said the expectations for the number of attendees were low, but the event ended up attracting nearly 100 attendees from several departments.

That was one of the incentives for Hernandez, as she said the split of doctors, nurses, social workers and ancillary hospital staff offered several viewpoints and different perspectives on the stresses they face.

“It was really beneficial,” Breeden added.

Those benefits aren’t limited to the doctors, nurses, social workers and others; rather, the theory is the help the staff receives will trickle down to the patients as well. Breeden said the forums can create a stronger connection between the staff and patients and a better understanding of what patients and their families go through during treatment. As Hernandez put it, it’s easy for a person to forget to care about him or herself when the person is tasked with caring for others every day.

The goal is to have the forums once a month and will alternate them between Mercy Gilbert and Chandler Regional Medical Center, both of which are owned by Dignity Health.

“It’s something we’re really excited about, especially with Level I trauma,” he said.

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