The National Academy of Medicine prepares a well-being plan for health personnel

Seven priority areas emerge from the process that began before the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new national healthcare worker wellness plan will be released this month.

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Collaborative Action on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience will announce the plan based on nearly six years of collective work among 200 collaborative members and network organizations.

The new plan targets healthcare worker burnout that began before the COVID-19 pandemic and worsened during the pandemic. Members of the Collaboration recognize that the challenges facing healthcare workers are “systemic, complex and long-standing,” according to NAM.

“It is essential for us to have a nationally coordinated plan to help move American health care from the current reality of a workforce shortage and a burnout crisis to a future where every healthcare worker can experience joy in their workplace and know they are valued,” said NAM President and Collaborative Co-Chair Victor Dzau, MD, in a Press release. “NAM is poised to take clear next steps to work with leaders in healthcare organizations and educational institutions for healthcare professionals, policy makers, healthcare IT companies, payers, regulators, associations and others involved in cultivating a healthcare system to support our healthcare providers and optimize their well-being.

In May, NAM released a draft plan to coordinate action in at least seven priority areas:

  • Positive working and learning environments and culture
  • Measurement, evaluation, strategies and research of well-being
  • Mental health and stigma
  • Compliance, regulatory and policy barriers to the daily work of health workers
  • Effective technological tools
  • Effects of COVID-19 on healthcare personnel
  • Succession recruitment

The collaboration said the strains of COVID-19 have led healthcare workers to experience burnout and moral injury, and to leave or consider leaving the profession. America’s health care workforce is at a critical juncture, but the challenges can be met.

American Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, served as co-chair of the Clinician Well-Being Collaborative. In May, he published his own “Surgeon General’s Advisory Addressing Health Worker Burnout.”

“Even before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, our healthcare workforce faced extraordinary and overwhelming challenges,” Murthy said in the NAM press release. “As we rebuild and recover from the pandemic, we owe health workers a debt of action. I am grateful to the National Academy of Medicine for recognizing this and for their leadership in the national plan for our health workforce, because if we fail to tackle burnout and ensure that workers have the support and resources they need, the consequences will be felt by all who depend on the health care system.

NAM launched the Collaborative in 2017 with three objectives:

  • Increase the visibility of anxiety, burnout, depression, stress and suicide among clinicians
  • Improve basic understanding of clinician wellness challenges
  • Advance multidisciplinary evidence-based solutions to improve patient care by caring for the caregiver

The the plan will be published June 24 at NAM headquarters in Washington, DC, and online.

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