Chronic illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity affect more than half of all Americans (approximately 117 million people), according to a 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These conditions, which are the leading cause of death in the U.S., are the main reason for most hospital admissions (81 percent) and physician visits (76 percent). As a result, this chronic disease crisis is putting a heavy burden on the country’s healthcare workforce.
“We have nurses and physicians today who are really suffering because patients are getting sicker,” says Dorrie Fontaine, Ph.D., R.N., the dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Virginia. “People go into healthcare wanting to do a good job and they end up in work environments feeling like they have a broken heart because of the work they do. There’s a high rate of burnout with 20 to 30 percent of nurses quitting after the first few years,” she adds. With this in mind, UVA created the Compassionate Care Initiative (CCI), a program that aims to help cultivate compassion and resilience in healthcare workers.
In this video interview with Sonia Jones, Fontaine and her colleague Susan Bauer-Wu, Ph.D., R.N., the director of the CCI, discuss the importance of teaching the healthcare community how to withstand these modern-day workplace pressures. Watch to learn how you, too, can use mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and even a simple pause to help build resiliency in your own life.
By Sonia Jones