This commentary summarizes lessons learned from previous pandemics and provides consensus on best practices for fostering an organizational culture of resilience during COVID-19.
Because health care providers have shown signs of acute psychological stress, burnout, and posttraumatic stress while caring for COVID-19 patients, it is important for health care organizations to support the mental health of its staff. The authors recommend three strategic principles for health care organizations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Provide leadership focused on resilience
- Structure crisis communication to provide information and empowerment
- Create a continuum of staff support within the organization
Effective crisis management provides a clear, optimistic vision and realistic plan; takes decisive action; and facilitates open, honest, and frequent communication. Leaders should present the most up-to-date information to reduce anxiety. Still, it is important to normalize anxious feelings and encourage their expression, advocate for personal wellness, and identify support resources. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future; therefore, leaders should enhance well-being and resilience of health care workers, which will then enhance organizational cohesion and reduce adverse effects for staff.