Hospital leaders can draw on many resources to support the mental health of nurses, says Holly Carpenter, BSN, RN, senior policy advisor for the American Nurses Association (ANA). Carpenter refers hospital leaders to the ANA position statement on nurses’ mental health,1 which includes these suggestions:

  • Healthcare employers should designate a chief wellness officer and actively recruit nurses to fill this position.
  • Nurses and nurse leaders should be trained to recognize signs of mental distress not only in nursing staff but also in patients at elevated risk of mental illness, and make referrals for appropriate, voluntary, confidential assistance.
  • Healthcare employers should offer free and confidential mental health screenings to all nurses.
  • Healthcare employers should ensure all nurses know their mental healthcare benefits, coverage, and available resources. Confidential crisis hotlines and long-term supports should be available. These resources should be reviewed regularly for adequacy and quality.
  • Nurse educators and leaders should emphasize and integrate racial equity approaches at all levels of addressing mental health in nurse practice settings.
  • Nurse leaders should work with stakeholders, particularly in the mental health community, to reduce mental health-related stigma in healthcare settings at all levels and in society at large.

Carpenter suggests hospital leaders encourage nurses to visit the ANA website dedicated to preventing nurse suicide.2

REFERENCES

  1. American Nurses Association. Promoting nurses’ mental health. Nov. 30, 2020.
  2. American Nurses Association. Nurse suicide prevention/resilience.