Monica Aurilio, BSN, RN, nurse-in-charge in Neurosciences Intermediate Care, had been excited to kick off 2020 by launching a wellness initiative for her colleagues on the night shift as the new year got underway. But those plans, like so many others, were paused as the pandemic emerged. This year, Aurilio was delighted to find another way to promote health and wellness for nurses: by discussing her experiences on a new resiliency-focused podcast produced by the Department of Nursing.
“I was really excited to learn about the podcast and be asked to participate on an episode about sleep health with Dr. Charles Czeisler,” said Aurilio, who has worked overnights for 25 years in Neurosciences Intermediate Care.
After the immense challenges of the first surge of the pandemic, nursing leaders sought a new way to provide information and tools focused on resiliency and self-care for nurses.
“We thought a podcast would be powerful because nurses can access it anytime, regardless of their work schedules,” said Danika Medina, MBA, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC, associate chief nurse for Ambulatory Services and Procedural Areas. “The topics we cover are relevant to nurses everywhere — at the Brigham, across the Mass General Brigham system and beyond. Throughout the pandemic, nurses everywhere have experienced stress, grief, fear and uncertainty like never before.”
The eight-episode series, hosted by Maddy Pearson, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, senior vice president of Clinical Services and chief nursing officer, features conversations with Brigham clinical nurses and interprofessional colleagues who share their expertise and experiences.
“We wanted to create this series to give back to nurses after all they have given of themselves this past year,” said Pearson. “I have learned so much from our guests, and I hope that the information and experiences they share will inspire nurses and others to take care of themselves. They have certainly inspired me.”
Pearson and guests delve into topics including trauma-informed self-care, sleep health, moral distress and cultivating joy and a sense of belonging, among others. While most episodes cover the effects of the pandemic on nurses, the practices, tools and information that guests provide can be accessed by nurses, clinicians and anyone interested in prioritizing self-care at any time.
Christine Murphy, MS, PMHCNS-BC, CARN-AP, program director of the Brigham’s Psychiatric Nursing Resource Service, participated in a podcast episode about how the “health care superhero” label can negatively affect nurses’ well-being.
“The hero construct places an expectation of heroism on nurses, with little acknowledgment of our limitations and experiences as humans,” she explained. “The pandemic has had a significant impact on nurses, and the hero label can be detrimental when nurses assume a hero role and are so focused on taking care of others that they aren’t taking care of their own needs.”
In that episode, Murphy was joined by Susan Gabriel, MSN, RN, CCRN, of the Cardiac Surgery ICU, who shared her perspective on caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients during the first surge. The two also provided listeners with tips for self-care practices, urging nurses to carve out time to care for themselves.
“More than ever, we as nurses need to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first so that we can continue to do what we love, which is taking care of people,” Murphy said.
Episodes will be released weekly, beginning March 24, for eight weeks.
For more information about how to listen, visit brighamandwomens.org/podcasts/resiliency-roadmap.
- March 24: “Is Your Resiliency at Risk? Signs Your Resilience is Fading and How to Rebuild It”
Guests: Erin Collier, RN, Palliative Care; and Amanda Moment, LICSW, Palliative Care Social Work
- March 31: “Please Don’t Call Me a Hero”
Guests: Susan Gabriel, MSN, RN, CCRN, Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit; and Christine Murphy, MS, PMHCNS-BC, CARN-AP, program director, Psychiatric Nursing Resource Service
- April 7: “Trauma-Informed Self-Care”
Guests: Heather Ankiewicz, RN, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit; Varina Bednarz, BSN, RN, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit; and Annie Lewis-O’Connor, PHD, NP-BC, MPH, FAAN, founder and director, C.A.R.E. Clinic
- April 14: “Are You Coping with Stress in Unhealthy Ways?”
Guest: Sejal Shah, MD, chief, Division of Medical Psychiatry
- April 21: “Sleep Health During Times of Unrest”
Guests: Monica Aurilio, BSN, RN, nurse-in-charge, Braunwald Tower 10CD/12B, Neurosciences Intermediate Care; and Charles Czeisler, MD, PhD, chief, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders
- April 28: “How Belonging – or Not Belonging – Affects Resiliency”
Guests: Massiel Eversley, MJ, BSN, RN, NE-BC, regional nursing director, Primary Care; and Normella Walker, executive director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- May 5: “How Do I Cope When Things Feel Wrong?”
Guests: Erin Borland, BSN, RN, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit; and Aimee Milliken, PhD, RN, interim director, Ethics Service
- May 12: “Cultivating Joy”
Guest: Donald Proby, director of the Office of Mediation, Coaching, Ombuds and Support Services