Strengthening Your Leaders

And their ability to get things done.

Compassion Tribe: Virtual support for coping

with COVID-19

The Maryland Healthcare Education Institute (MHEI) teamed up with the Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF) to provide you support during COVID-19.  Through virtual Compassion Tribe forums, coaching and our video library, we are committed to bringing you the resources you need during this crisis.

Ideas Shared During Compassion Tribe:

Appreciation and Recognition

  • Hospital staff sending/delivering gift baskets to group homes to help them know people were thinking of them during this time when they cannot leave.
  • Krispy Kreme-giving away free donuts to hospital staff. A Unit Manager sent donuts to all floors with a note that said, “I do-nut what I would do without you”.
  • The Henry Ford Health System created a well wishes platform. You can use this to send positive messages to patients via a specific channel on tv’s and display them on monitors for staff.

Patient and Family Experience

  • iPads donated to help family and patients stay connected and provide Netflix. Provide universal chargers that patients can keep.
  • Using voice of the patient or surveys to glean patient comments to encourage staff that they are making a difference.
  • Using staff whose employment is closed to be virtual communicators or liaisons for patients and families.
  • One team member who works in a facility that treats OB and Palliative care patients developed a script of messaging for their security guards who were having difficulty speaking with empathy to patients and families.

Operations/Care Delivery

  • Diverting patient calls regarding testing to a command center.
  • Seek out volunteers/volunteer groups to help you in meeting needs of the staff. Ex. A group making masks, made some and we distributed them to staff.
  • Some hospitals, through their team members are reaching out to the community and precuring beds, mattresses and masks.
  • Moving Non-COVID patients to surgery floors since now surgeries are on hold.
  • In critical care units and ED Donning and gown are done by pairing staff to check each other to be ready to go.
  • In negative pressure rooms the engineering dept cut holes in the wall to pass things through to patients can be seen by nurses to keep bed side staff from having to leave the room as much.
  • Re-deploy staff where possible and where it makes sense and is safe.

Stress Relief

  • Creating “Zen Dens” or no pressure rooms for staff to have respite from stress.
  • Finding new ways to exercise and motivate virtually (texts and face time) with creative workouts to combat boredom eating!
  • Repurposing a conference room to create a “spa like” atmosphere for staff.

Managing Anxiety

  • Call a time out in your unit or department when things become to heightened or confusing.
  • Do your best to make sure your family is safe and well so that you don’t have to worry when you’re at work.
  • Engaging Social Services staff in supporting clinical staff.


  • Playing the song, Here Comes the Sun when a patient is removed successfully from a ventilator.
  • Allow staff to huddle before shifts to pray or encourage each other.
  • A holistic nursing department took on the task of reading positive messaging at 730a, 3p and 10:30pm over the intercom of the hospital.
  • Round of applause over the intercom when a patient is off the ventilator.

Leadership Communication

  • Having Administration round more often to give updates and encouragement. Sharing good news as often as possible.
  • Holding Charge Nurse meetings once per day to consolidate information and messaging.
  • At daily meetings/huddles be as completely transparent as you are able, admitting you “don’t know” if that’s the case.
  • As much as possible, make sure Administration is more visible, much more visible.
  • Nursing directors printing out information from HICS to have ready and available for Charge Nurses at start of shift (to avoid Charge Nurse having to check email and print)
  • Weekly physician leadership huddle to talk through challenges and focus on teamwork/collaboration

Embracing Technology

  • If before the crisis you were trying to find time to get in some training, consider if it can be accomplished remotely and can staff who are being paid but not working benefit.
  • Rapid launches of telemedicine and physician/provider cross-training

Employee and Physician Support

  • Reach out to food trucks to see if they will set up before and after shifts and donate food to staff coming on shift or going home.
  • A health system setup a grocery store in their café for staff to get essential things (toilet paper, paper towels, etc.) before they went home.
  • The Admin of the hospital early on added 80 hours of emergency/ resiliency leave time in each staff members leave banks. They are allowed to use this time whenever necessary, and leaders can send staff home if needed. If not used it will be left for them to use later.
  • Local hotels offering shelter to local health system employees who are concerned about returning home
  • Gratitude Lane is set up with local restaurants and food trucks at shift change so all incoming staff can get a meal and off going staff can get a meal to bring home.

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