How Sanford Health supports clinician well-being

Enterprise-wide programs help health care providers stay healthy at work and home

How Sanford Health supports clinician well-being

Part of taking care of others is taking care of yourself.

Providing world-class, lifesaving health care is demanding. Burnout is real among medical providers.

Which is why, through programs like the Clinician Well-being Council and RISES, Sanford Health is leading the charge in supporting clinician well-being.

Keeping clinicians healthy

Brian Gatheridge, Ph.D., L.P., is a licensed clinical psychologist at Sanford Health in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. He said the Clinician Well-being Council is a group of clinicians who “are passionate about the expanding concept of well-being throughout our enterprise, and integrating wellness in all facets.”

The council has been around for two years.

“It was born out of recognition that there’s a high rate of burnout and mental health problems that impact health care clinicians because of the unique demands associated with our work,” he said.

“The unfortunate reality is that there has been a need to develop initiatives and programs to help our fellow colleagues be healthy and well, while at work and also in their lives outside of work.”

Assistance at work

Jennifer Haggar, M.D., is a pediatrician at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She said the investment Sanford Health has made in the overall wellness of its clinicians is palpable.

“It’s a true investment from Sanford. Clearly, there’s been a leadership decision to invest in it. When we are healthy and our best selves, we’re able to be better parts of our teams. We’re able to be better clinicians for our patients.

“We’re not trying to pour out of an empty cup,” said Dr. Haggar.

Support is offered at work, enterprise-wide, through the CWC, “by coming together as a group in a supportive environment and discussing stressors and challenges seen on a daily basis, and being advocates for each other,” said Heather Spies, M.D., an obstetrician and gynecologist and physician director of clinician experience at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls.

“We’re really trying to create an environment where it’s OK to not be OK sometimes, and figuring out how do we get you to a better place? It’s very important,” said Dr. Spies.

Help at home

Support is offered not only at work, but also when clinicians clock out and head home.

“Sanford Health as an organization wants me to be able to focus on my family, and to have resources to take care of all the things I might not be able to spend time on,” said Dr. Haggar.

“A very random example,” Dr. Haggar recalled, “was when I needed someone to help with fall cleanup at my house. I contacted Vital WorkLife Concierge, a free resource for all Sanford Health clinicians and employees. They gave me a bunch of people and quotes, and I ended up hiring a company they referred me to.

“That was an hour I got to answer emails and help take care of my pediatric residents, or see patients, and not call around town to figure out who can pick up my leaves. It was a service Sanford provided and I felt very cared for, that they would offer that.”

Developing clinician careers

Dr. Haggar is a physician who is also part of the RISES program.

The program stands for:

  • Reach
  • Impact
  • Strategy
  • Empower
  • Serve

It’s a three-year development and career growth program, offered to 25 clinicians at a time. It’s composed of physicians and advanced practice providers.

RISES is also completely free.

“By investing in our leaders and continuing to make sure we’re growing them as people and professionals, people have appreciated that,” said Dr. Spies.

Connections across Sanford communities

Part of the beauty of RISES is that it’s an enterprise-wide program at Sanford Health.

Clinicians are able to pick the brains of their colleagues, even if they’re hundreds of miles apart.

“I like to call it adult learning,” said director of clinician experience Aaste Campbell.

Connections like these are keeping clinicians at Sanford, according to Dr. Haggar.

“These programs have really just reaffirmed why this is the place I belong,” said Dr. Haggar.

Learn more

Posted In Detroit Lakes, People & Culture, Physicians and APPs, Sioux Falls