Empowerment Training for UW Medicine Frontline Women

Project Size: Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $2,787

Letter of Intent:

Justification: In the wake of COVID-19, The Whole U has received numerous requests for more comprehensive resources and training pertaining to resiliency for frontline healthcare providers at UW Medicine. Burnout is a long-term stress reaction marked by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a lack in sense of personal accomplishment. The healthcare environment, with packed workdays, demanding pace, time pressures, and emotional intensity, puts workers at high risk for burnout (Muacevic et al., 2018, Compson 2015). Coupled with mental and physical health impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, burnout in healthcare workers is expected to increase to unprecedented levels as the pandemic continues. The proposed project will provide Jane Compson’s CARE program training to 200 UW Medicine frontline medical professional women working in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to mitigate negative mental health impacts and burnout, as well as further understand the impacts COVID19 is having on frontline medical women’s mental health. The UN Sustainable Development Goals state that women play a disproportionate role in responding to the virus as frontline healthcare workers and at home. This project will provide an immediate intervention for our community’s frontline medical women who are facing stressors in both environments. Description and Goals: The CARE program, acronym for Compassion, Awareness, Resilience and Empowerment, was developed by Jane Compson (Compson, 2015). It offers training in these aforementioned four areas with the specific goal of improving resilience and well-being and ameliorating and protecting against burnout. Thus far, CARE has been offered to small groups of students and educators in 8-10 hours of in person training. In these versions, exceptional anecdotal feedback was recorded, and positive change was demonstrated in measures of self-compassion, perceived stress, and burnout. This project will adapt the CARE program into an online Canvas course reaching a large and diverse group of UW Medicine frontline medical women in collaboration with The Whole U, a comprehensive holistic wellness and engagement program for all UW employees. Specifically, the project aims to: i. Enroll up to 200 UW Medicine frontline women in the 4-week training during the month of July. ii. Provide an immediate intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic that reduces participant burnout and increases subjective well-being and self-compassion as evidenced by reduced burnout scores, improved perceived stress scores, and increased self-compassion scores post intervention. iii. Support participants in developing patterns of incorporating self-care skills as evidenced by selfreport. iv. Foster a supportive group environment in which participants can practice their self-care skills in community. v. Elicit feedback and input from participants to tailor future iterations of the program. vi. Contribute to quantitative and qualitative research on the impacts of COVID-19 on frontline healthcare providers mental health and symptoms of burnout. Evaluation and Impact: a. Pre- and post-testing. Before the training, participants will be asked to take the Copenhagen Burnout Inventory to assess their level of burnout. They will also take the Perceived Stress Scale and the Self Compassion Scale. On completion of the training, participants will complete these measures again. By comparing pre- and post- test results, we will be able to understand the efficacy of the adapted CARE training in terms of reducing burnout, reducing perceived stress and increasing self-compassion. b. Subjective self-report/qualitative review. After the training, participants will be invited to offer anonymous written feedback on their experiences of the course, including their evaluation of its effectiveness in building resilience and helping with coping mechanisms of the demands of being a frontline healthcare worker in a global pandemic. Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being: This project will provide health workers guidance and resources to look after their mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Additionally, the project offers a response and intervention on an institutional and accessible level, providing support and acknowledgement for the sacrifice of frontline healthcare workers at UW. Goal 5 - Gender equality and women’s empowerment: Women play a disproportionate role in responding to the virus as frontline workers and beyond. This means that UW Medicine frontline women are at an even heightened risk for burnout with coupled COVID-19 stressors at work and home. This project provides an intervention specific for frontline women. With this, goal 5 contends that women are the backbone of recovery in communities. This project will empower the participating women to instill learned tenets of self-care and practices of resilience into their greater communities, including family, friends, and work units. Goal 8 - Inclusive employment and decent work: This project is development-oriented, supporting productive activities and workplace resilience, in line with goal 8, target 3. The training invests in the UW Medicine workforce meeting mental and emotional needs to ensure a decent working environment. With this, this project works towards goal 8, tenet 8 by promoting a safe working environment for all workers, specifically women, and workers at risk in healthcare environments. The frontline healthcare profession is a precarious environment, one that demands special attention to mental health.

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Lauren Updyke