Spectrum Health seeks to prevent employee burnout

Spectrum Health's Butterworth Hospital. Courtesy Spectrum Health

Spectrum Health was named a 2021 Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program recipient by the American Medical Association for its efforts to combat caregiver stress and burnout.

Spectrum Health is one of 44 health care organizations in the nation to be recognized for the program, which highlights organizations’ efforts to reduce work-related burnout and commitment to preserving the well-being of their employees.

“It’s truly an honor to receive such important recognition from the AMA, and we are committed to continuing our work to help support all of our frontline team members,” said Dr. Joshua Kooistra, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Spectrum Health. “COVID has tested us all, but it’s the people on our front lines who are, most often, feeing the extreme mental effects of the pandemic, and it’s our responsibility to ensure their well-being is intact.”

Spectrum Health integrated employee resources, such as a well-being index that regularly checks in on how clinicians are doing physically and mentally, and offered community-building programs, support groups and a peer support pilot program since the start of the pandemic.

A national study showed 38% of caregivers employed by health systems during the pandemic experienced anxiety or depression, while 43% suffered from work overload, and 49% experienced burnout.

Kooistra added many Spectrum Health employees experienced similar effects, noting the well-being index continues to expose what does and doesn’t help. The index showed, for example, that many Spectrum Health employees said their fellow colleagues improved their sense of well-being the most.

“I am grateful to Dr. Kristin Jacob, Courtney Hilbert and our team at the office of physician & APP (advanced practice provider) fulfillment who are dedicated to the well-being of our physicians and combating stress and burnout with proactive, innovative efforts that take into account this important feedback,” Kooistra said. “It’s because of these initiatives that continue our momentum to make Spectrum Health a great place to work.”

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