Self-Care While Caring for Others as a Strategy to Improve Reflection and Clarity of Self

Wednesday, 1 August 2012: 8:30 AM

John W. Nelson, RN, MS
Research Administration, Healthcare Environment, Inc, St. Paul, MN

This 2-hospital system, which includes one of the first fifteen hospitals to achieve and sustain Magnet certification in the USA, began implementation of Relationship Based Care (RBC) three years ago.  According to the concepts of RBC, employees must have clarity in their own strengths and vulnerabilities as they execute their role in caring for others.  The challenge within the current pace and intensity of healthcare is the environment and employees do not pause long enough to support self-reflection for employees to establish or maintain clarity of self as they care for others.  Thus, the organization implemented and tested interventions to improve the environment of for self-care and reflection.

The first strategy focused on the internal environment of the employee. An educational program regarding how to use self in the healing of others was implemented. Nurses volunteered to become educated as practicing holistic healers with the full support of the executive administration and medical staff.

The second strategy focused on the external environment of the employee.  A major renovation of one of the hospitals was planned.  Prior to the renovation, the structure was examined in relationship to employee self-care.  Watson’s Theory of Caritas, Architectural theories, and empirics were used to design the data collection tool.  It was desired to understand how the current structure, prior to renovation, related to employee’s report of self care. Data was used to examine self-care scores of staff and how the structure related to scores of self-care in each unit and department.

It was proposed that everybody can create a caring moment for self and others, thus everyone in the facility was included in studying self-care and the impact on caring.  The organization proposed the cumulative effect of caring moments with everybody in the organization will impact outcomes of employees, patients, and the organization.