Challenging work conditions put over 20 million U.S. health workers at risk for mental health problems. Mental health concerns among health workers include stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicidal behavior. These mental health concerns are not new. Even before the pandemic, health workers faced challenging work conditions and suffered high rates of poor mental health outcomes.

Our new High Reliability Podcast covers a different topic area than what we typically discuss: Stress in healthcare facilities management.

Stress is rising in the discipline, including for those who have been in the role for many years. That was the impetus for this particular episode: I have talked to many who have mentioned mounting stress. From diminishing budgets to a lack of employees, from increasing regulation to unrealistic demands, facility professionals are speaking to the toll of stress.

This episode views stress through the lens of healthcare facilities management but is instructive for all dealing with stress, regardless of age, health, work status, or industry working in. All can learn from this podcast.

Our guest is Patricia Arcari, PhD, RN, AHN-BC. Patty is the Program Manager for Meditation and Mindfulness at the Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies and Healthy Living at Dana Farber Cancer Center in Boston, MA. She is also a Visiting Scholar at Boston College. Patty has created novel meditation, mindfulness, and mind/body resilience programming for patients, staff, and students. She is board-certified as an Advanced Holistic Nurse and a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Integrative Nursing. She has practiced holistic nursing for over 20 years in clinical, training, and research capacities.

One of the tools used with cancer patients at the Zakim Center is the Stress Toolbox, which helps patients identify and assess stress at the moment. While the Toolbox has many tools, Patty says the four basic strategies are:

  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Present moment awareness
  • Positive awareness

Patty says that those looking to deal with stress through meditation and mindfulness must develop “your own proactive approach so day to day you can shift your body and handle the stress.” She also mentions the need to create internal self-care processes to manage stress, including:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Balanced diet and elimination of processed foods
  • Meditation (with tips on how to get started).

Listen to this noteworthy podcast, “Stress and the Healthcare Facility Professional” here.

Learn more about the Zakim Center at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Join Gosselin/Martin Associates at the Healthcare Facilities Network on YouTube