In this opinion piece, physicians provide suggestions for leaders to support health care professionals based on their experience and direct requests from other health care providers.
To support health care professionals so that they are able to provide the best possible care to their patients and communities over an extended period of time, it is important to first understand specific sources of anxiety. Tailored stress reduction and resilience approaches are more effective than general strategies. The best way to do this is to ask health care professionals what they are most concerned about. Health care professionals want unambiguous assurances that their organization will support them and their family and can be categorized into five requests: hear me, protect me, prepare me, support me, and care for me. Beyond these tangible actions to address their concerns, health care professionals want visible leaders who understand their concerns, assure them that they recognize their concerns, and develop plans to mitigate their concerns. Having leaders communicate care and gratitude is the encouragement health care professionals need during this time of uncertainty.