The Wisdom & Wellbeing Program (WWP), formerly known as Be Wise, is a health system initiative designed to help team members be their best at work. Acting wisely is doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right reason. It means living our ASPIRE values, and in the high stakes, high-stress environment of health care, it’s not easy! Our patients count on us to be our best, to do the right thing for them each and every day. With the right tools, the right environment, and teamwork, we can strive for wisdom in this important work we do.
The operational definitions of peer support vary in the literature from focused support of co-workers/friends, people with disabilities or in recovery, support groups, to trained peer counselors. The Wisdom and Wellbeing Program uses co-worker peer support as an essential component of unit cohesion and social support in high stress exposure teams and to build strengths to mitigate stress-related challenges and injury. A primary advantage of co-worker peer support is that it is available when needed and provided by those who “get” the context of the stress experience. Co-worker peer support uses wisdom practices and stress first aid as bystander interventions and is different from therapeutic peer counselors or peer crisis teams. In the Wisdom and Wellbeing Program approach we are all peers of each other; regardless of our titles or roles. As peers, we need to be knowledgeable about self-care and peer care strategies that build resilience, be able to recognize when a peer has a stress injury, know how to support a peer when stress is taking a toll, and know at least two support resources that we would offer a peer.
The Wisdom & Wellbeing Program helps team members to:
- Increase their resilience
- Recognize stress and employ stress first aid strategies to mitigate the negative effects of stress
- Recognize and reduce unnecessary stressors in the workplace so that team members can function optimally
Fundamental to the Wisdom & Wellbeing Program is what is known as the stress continuum. The stress continuum is used to understand the stress load of work-centers and individuals. It is a non- stigmatizing model that enhances dialogs about stress challenges within the workplace.
- Health System wide awareness training to enhance peer support
- Team building to develop internal capacity to recognize and address system-based and individual occupational stress exposure.
- Team based occupational stress assessment and facilitated dialog upon request
- Using the stress continuum to decide what stress and coping supports would best fit the needs of a team or individual
- Coaching support for leaders to navigate conflict communication, address stress-related interpersonal behaviors, and address systems issues.
- Improve peer and leader abilities to recognize stress injuries and respond with compassionate support
- Improve teams abilities to engage in important and difficult systems issues
- Promote the early use of restorative practices to assist stress injured clinicians and teams
- Enhance team culture that improves engagement, retention, and meaningful work.