‘We need to get back on track, but I feel cannot ask for more, anymore’. This was quoted to me by a care home manager recently. Burnout and resignation have been some of the tough consequences of the last couple of years.
Resentment too. Another Manager described how there was a divide in the staff team between those who carried on coming to work and those who had self-isolated. The resentment went both ways. Those who had stayed, felt let down. Whilst those who self-isolated resented being judged for their actions.
So, you may have not just a weary team, but a dysfunctional one too.
We have to carry on, but I feel the sector will continue to get limited help. If we think governmental and societal attitudes to health and social care have changed because of the pandemic, then we are not taking into account of the desire to move on. The sacrifice will not be compensated.
Whilst this may seem gloomy, we have to remember that Health and Social Care has always been resourceful and the best changes and ideas have come from the ‘workforce’. This comes from an inner belief and passion for the work that we do.
The answer to the question of how do we build resilience is not going to come from the outside, it will come from within.
Pre-pandemic most organisation in all sectors streamlined functions in order to increase efficiency. This though creates a weakness in being able to respond to disruption. The lesson is that teams have to be more flexible in responding to changes and of course flexibility doesn’t just happen.
The first steps come from the leadership in being open and honest about what is going on.
In the case of the team where resentment was simmering, the manager named it and got staff to talk candidly about how they felt. The manager got a positive outcome because she is known for being honest and open and she enabled the team to recognise that everyone has been affected by a situation that was nobody in the team’s fault.
I have often been moved about how much teams care about each other. Without it, how can they care compassionately for those that they support? Creating opportunities to acknowledge this is very important. Care teams though can often develop into cliques and it is a role of leadership to get the whole team to recognise each other’s qualities.
Having a strategy to support the emotional needs of staff is key in being able to build the resilience to create the flexibility as described above. The ultimate aim is to move away from designing roles that focus on tasks, but rather on the wider outcomes of ensuring the well-being of people we support. This is desirable as the well being of people becomes the responsibility of all.
“Resilience is very different than being numb. Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fail, you hurt. You fall. But, you keep going.”Yasmin Mogahed
To build resilience in teams, we have to show that we care for each other.