The Problem: Residents, fellows, faculty, nurses, techs and other staff are overworked and at high risk for burnout. It is well recognized that demonstrated gratitude is helpful in mitigating burnout and boosting hospital morale.
Our Approach: First we conducted a needs assessment by reaching out to friends working in the hospital, asking what non-medical resources they may need. We developed care packages to send to residents filled with purchases of snacks, coffee, and other goodies. We funded these packages by reaching out to our Office of Student Affairs and student organizations for funding, as these organizations were unable to use their budgets for their typical in-person events during physical distancing. We worked with the Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine Chief Residents to facilitate drop-offs to the ED and medicine floors at our affiliated hospitals. We also put together a wellness website for hospital faculty and staff with thank you notes and jokes submitted by the community (including cute kids stuck home from school!).
We recommend also reaching out to Operation Gratitude (firstname.lastname@example.org), a U.S. veteran-run volunteer organization that’s piloting a care package dispatch to COVID19 hotspot cities (e.g. Seattle, SF, NYC, etc). They will ask for the following information:
- Where to ship – We recommend first reaching out to your hospital operations, who will provide you with this information, preferably a loading dock address
- How many people you’re trying to reach – again, hospital operations can assist in providing this information
- Specific items that might be helpful to your teams - We asked for instant coffee as well as ground coffee.
Operation Gratitude also has thousands of handwritten cards collected from their donors, volunteers, and corporate sponsors. We recommend following your hospital’s policy on how to coordinate this. We elected to collect the cards in a single shipment and quarantine in our Student Council office for 2 weeks (based on primary literature evidence of COVID19 lifespan on hard surfaces) before turning them over to hospital ops for dissemination.
Participants: All medical school classes, MD/PhD students
This is an open-access publication distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.