AONL’s 2023 Annual Conference Puts a Focus on Resilience

The American Organization for Nursing Leadership’s (AONL) Annual Conference was packed with sessions on a variety of topics including diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), workflow optimization, virtual care models, and one topic that came up repeatedly: resilience.  

In a session titled, “The Well-Being Coaching Program: Empowering Nurses to Engage”, the presenters explained how they addressed burnout and improved well-being at their organization. Nursing is a demanding and often stressful occupation, and it can be mentally and emotionally challenging. At Atrium Health they launched a program to help nurses engage in self-care and self-compassion through their “CPR” program which focuses on: 

  • Learning to have compassion for themselves 
  • Being present and prioritizing mindfulness to let go of things they can’t change 
  • Recovering by doing things that bring them joy and help them reset and regain their energy

The early results showed a reduction in feelings of burnout and an increase in feelings of resilience. Due to the program’s success, they are expanding it organization-wide using a train the trainer model.   

In the session, “Building Resilience Together: Peer Led Approach to Nurse Manager Wellness”, the presenter shared how Pennsylvania Hospital addressed burnout through a peer led program. They took a multidimensional approach to wellness, with an emphasis on self-care and team building. By taking time out for walks together outside, yoga, book clubs, and more they were able to reduce turnover by 36%. 

For operational and education leaders at UPMC St. Margaret, they found that there was room for improvement in their new nurse orientation program. New nurses make a significant transition when they leave an educational environment and enter the workforce as a health care provider. Nurses often work long hours. They face interactions with many new people and emotional situations. They may experience death for the first time and other life changing experiences. UPMC wanted to approach orientation in a new way, reduce turnover, a create a more positive culture for nurses.  

When they dug into what nurses needed to stay with the organization long-term, these themes emerged: 

  • Belonging and connection  
  • Well-being and stress management  
  • Confidence and autonomy  
  • Professional growth  
  • Technical skill development

In response, they evolved their orientation to incorporate equal parts of each of those categories, focusing on self-care, communication, team building, emotional intelligence, and communication. Since implementing this new orientation design, turnover is down 15% and it’s been 0% so far in 2023. 

The American Organization for Nursing Leadership’s Annual Conference highlighted the pressing need for resilience in the nursing profession. Sessions addressing burnout and well-being emphasized the importance of self-care, self-compassion, and building supportive communities highlighted the importance of empowering nurses and ensuring their long-term success, leading to improved patient care and a healthier health care system overall. 

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