Healthcare Workforce Support Trends

The Need for Peer Supporters as Part of an Integrated Support Model

Turnover, Burnout, and Psychological Safety: Why Peer Support is Necessary

Twenty-five percent. That is how many frontline clinicians indicate that they might leave their current employer due to a lack of system support. Healthcare is experiencing turnover next only to hospitality induced by higher burnout and lower engagement. Psychological safety is at an all-time low, and second victimization rates are at the highest.

The pandemic fundamentally forces health systems to rethink care delivery models. It also is sets pressure on health system leaders to review the current institutional support models. Yet, at least half of the healthcare frontline doesn’t feel sufficiently supported*.

The challenge is primarily two-fold. 

  1. Frontline clinicians do not find enough trust in the system hence do not seek out help.
  2. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) cannot promptly identify distressed clinicians and provide the first line of support and, hence, typically have low utilization levels.

Why EAP and Self-care resources alone are not enough?

Organizations that excel in providing the right type of support at the right time and right place do one thing: They don’t rely just on EAP programs or self-help resources. They have peer supporters in all areas of the organizations. These organizations can proactively identify those who need help while increasing the utilization of their EAP program and other support resources.

A great institutional support program has an integrated support model with different levels and different types of resources and a peer support model is an active part of it. We must recognize the need and actively redesign our support models.

*A study on the state of institutional support was conducted at Beterra with a sample size of more than 150 organizations across the United States.

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