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National Academy of Medicine readies health workforce well-being plan


Seven priority areas emerge from process that began before COVID-19 pandemic.

National Academy of Medicine readies health workforce well-being plan

A new national plan for health care workforce well-being will be released this month.

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience will announce the plan built on almost six years of collective work among 200 collaborative members and network organizations.

The new plan targets health care worker burnout that started before the COVID-19 pandemic and worsened during the pandemic. The Collaborative members recognize the challenges facing health workers are “systemic, complex and longstanding,” according to NAM.

“It is critical for us to have a coordinated plan at the national level to help shift U.S. health care from the current reality of a workforce shortage and burnout crisis to a future where every health worker is able to experience joy in their workplace and knows that they are valued,” NAM President and Collaborative Co-Chairman Victor Dzau, MD, said in a news release. “The NAM is poised with clear next steps to work with leaders of health care organizations and educational institutions for health professionals, policymakers, health IT companies, payers, regulators, associations, and others involved to cultivate a health system to support our care providers and optimize their well-being.”

In May NAM released a draft plan to coordinate action across at least seven priority areas:

  • Positive work and learning environments and culture
  • Measurement, assessment, strategies, and research of well-being
  • Mental health and stigma
  • Compliance, regulatory and policy barriers for health workers’ daily work
  • Effective technology tools
  • Effects of COVID-19 on the health care workforce
  • Recruitment of the next generation

The Collaborative has said the strains of COVID-19 have led man health care workers to experience burnout and moral injury, and to leave or consider leaving the profession. The U.S. health care workforce Is at a critical juncture, but the challenges can be addressed.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, has served as co-chair of the Clinician Well-Being Collaborative. In May he released his own “Surgeon General’s Advisory Addressing Health Worker Burnout.”

“Even before the COVID-19 crisis began, our health workforce had to meet extraordinary and overwhelming challenges,” Murthy said in the NAM news release. “As we now rebuild and recover from the pandemic, we owe health workers a debt of action. I’m grateful to the National Academy of Medicine for recognizing this, and for their leadership through the National Plan for our health workforce, because if we fail to address burnout and ensure health workers have the support and resources they need, then the consequences will be felt by everyone who relies on the health care system.”

NAM launched the Collaborative in 2017 with three goals:

  • Raise the visibility of clinician anxiety, burnout, depression, stress, and suicide
  • Improve baseline understanding of challenges to clinician well-being
  • Advance evidence-based, multidisciplinary solutions to improve patient care by caring for the caregiver

The plan will be published June 24 at NAM’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and online.

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