I’ve been asking myself, what can I do; how can I support our healthcare heroes?

This drawing exactly represents what I’ve been thinking about as the COVID19 pandemic sent some of us sheltering at home while others courageously performed their jobs and cared for those impacted by the virus.


Before I was a coach, I spent many years in various supporting roles in the healthcare industry.  From the very start I recognized and respected the dedication and selflessness demonstrated by my colleagues, both in clinical and non-clinical roles. I had the good fortune of starting out my healthcare finance career with a fabulous role model as my leader: Judy Persichilli, now New Jersey’s Commissioner of Health. Later, I had the privilege of working alongside the best of the best, including Robyn Begley, now the CEO of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL). And those are just two of the many great colleagues I came to know and respect over the years.  Being a leader of the behind the scenes teams in Information Technology gave me the opportunity to work with people who often went above and beyond, even during hurricanes and super storms, and now, during a pandemic.  I salute you all!

It’s important to realize that those leaders in the forefront of this response to the pandemic  and those caregivers on the front lines are supported by numerous individuals, most of whom are not often seen or recognized as essential.  And essential they are: whether they are registering patients, safeguarding medical records, ensuring the safe dispensing of medications, implementing and supporting technologies to deliver care, delivering meals, cleaning rooms or handling any of the other thousands of other essential functions and tasks.   For all of these individuals in these roles, work life has changed suddenly and dramatically.  Some are working remotely now, perhaps alone for weeks; others have been furloughed due to the postponement of elective procedures and reduced hospital and ambulatory visits.

Back to the question I’ve been asking myself, what can I do? How can I bear some of this weight, how can I support the healthcare heroes? 

I’ve been inspired by what others are doing.  For example, a friend and former healthcare IT colleague is a partner in a new business venture, Cornerstone Nutrition. Jane Jaeger launched this business in late February, only to have to close the dining room and re-tool to keep open during the NJ shelter in place rules.  Jane and her business partners at Cornerstone Nutrition and LevelUp Nutrition launched their Pay It Forward campaign.  When a community  member ‘pays it forward’ by ordering a meal for one of the local hospital or clinic sites, Cornerstone Nutrition includes masks for the healthcare heroes included in the order!  Jane herself makes the masks.  For more information and to see those beautiful masks, go to  https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=cornerstone%20nutrition!

This got me thinking, as a coach, what can I offer?

Coaches help people see the choices before them with more clarity, even during times when there appear to be no choices available.  It starts with self awareness, understanding the influences surrounding us and what is and is not under our control.  Bruce D. Schneider, founder of iPEC Coaching, identifies 6 influencers that impact performance: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, social and environmental.  Who reading this thinks they have not had all six of these influencers chipping away at them lately?  I know I have.

Let’s take a closer look at them:

  • Spiritual – the connection to your purpose, fulfillment of your desire and your ability to create life balance
  • Mental –  your “brain power” or how well you are focusing and being present in the moment; your ability to harness your mental faculties for decision making, creating new ideas and taking action.
  • Emotional –  your mood and feelings, and how you express and manage them
  • Physical – your physical well-being and readiness to perform
  • Social – your interaction with others
  • Environmental –  the setting and conditions under which you are working

It’s pretty obvious how these influencers are showing up for healthcare professionals these days.  Let’s focus on two that are likely draining energy, then look at how choosing other options can enhance energy.  Let’s start with social and environmental influencers in play today.  Whether working on-site in a healthcare setting or working remotely to support those on site, healthcare team members are experiencing limited social interaction and working under isolating circumstances.  So what can be done? Here are some thoughts on using the influencers to your advantage:

  • Take care of yourself.  Just as you put your own oxygen mask on before helping another, you must take care of yourself before you can help someone else, Eat well, breathe, sleep and take time to relax. (physical, mental influencers)
  • Give yourself a mental break.  You are under a lot of stress.  Do anything you can to think about something other than the pandemic. (mental, emotional influencers)
  • Find someone with whom to share your thoughts, frustrations, concerns.  Keep in touch with your friends, colleagues, church or social community, family, or a coach or mentor (social, spiritual, emotional influencers)
  • Reconnect with your purpose – the reason you choose to work in the healthcare field. Recognize that the work you do is essential and important!  (spiritual influencers)
  • De-clutter or spruce up your remote work space to make it more comfortable and efficient for you (environmental influencers)

Try these suggestions, and ones that you come up with yourself, and remember, we are grateful for all of the healthcare heroes!

And now, for my answer to the question of what can I do? 

What I will do is give back in a way I am equipped to do, that is, as a coach.  I am offering a package of three complimentary coaching sessions to up to 10 healthcare professionals.  During this time of great stress, let me be a source of comfort to you by listening and supporting you as you continue to serve others.  Let me help you examine the external and internal influences on you, and help you to find your strategies to enhance your energy.

Go to https://llvcoaching.com/special-offers to contact me to schedule your complementary sessions.

As a CORe Leadership Dynamics Specialist (CLDS), I can help you discover and execute your Individual Success Formula to increase your confidence as a leader and drive your overall performance and satisfaction.  Contact me at cathyiocona@llvcoaching.com or visit me on www.llvcoaching.com to read what my clients say.

*This blog contains my interpretation of the copyrighted work of Bruce D. Schneider and the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC).