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Novant Health nurses to begin a well-being and resiliency program due to the pandemic

Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center received a $410,000 grant from the Duke Endowment for the program.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — As more nurses help patients fight the delta variant they're experiencing a health crisis of their own -- burnout. 

It's happening so much, Novant Health is offering its frontline nurses a three-day retreat to focus on their well-being. The retreat starts in December to give over 180 frontline nurses the opportunity to receive coaching and mentoring. One Novant Health registered nurse said this kind of support couldn't have come at a better time. 

"The people that I work with each and every day on the frontlines really suffer, and you see their pain," said Jo Ann Burnette. 

Along with being an RN, Burnette works in the office of patient experience. She said while nurses are called to care for patients, the pandemic brought on a new level of stress and pressure. 

"Families were separated from their loved ones. That added emotional stress on the nurses because patients need their families and the nurses need their families participating in care," said Burnette. 

In an effort to care for those who care for patients, Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center received a $410,000 grant from the Duke Endowment to start a well-being program that includes a retreat.

"We think the program is not only a great reset for three days, but it really can be life-changing in the way people experience their lives and the work they do," said Novant Health Chief Well-Being Officer Dr. Tom Jenike. 

The program has been around at Novant Health for 10 years for physicians and senior leaders. The retreat is held at an off-site location, but this is the first time it will serve nurses.

"Their colleagues will pick up for them and then they are going to rotate through. So yes, we think it's going to be in the end a big win for the patients because, when people come back re-energized, recharged refocus  they provide better care." 

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and Cone Health also provide support for healthcare workers through wellness and counseling programs and other resources.