Building bridges is key to success as a wellness manager
Amid a culture that contributes to burnout and loss of joy in medicine, a wellness manager (CWO) can help an organization systematically improve the wellness of physicians and others. health professionals.
Once a CWO has assembled a team, defined a mission, and developed a strategy to achieve it, it is important to partner with other leaders throughout the organization. A step forward from the AMA® The toolkit helps guide CWOs on how to do just that and more.
“Establish Partnerships, Distributed Leadership and Thematic Working Groups” is the sixth step in the “Leader of Wellbeing Roadmap” toolkit that outlines a nine-step approach CWOs can follow to implement implements a leadership strategy for professional well-being.
The toolkit indicates that an effective CWO should develop relationships with corporate-level colleagues, including the chief medical officer, clinical director, chief experience officer, human resources director, of medical information and the chief operating officer. In an academic setting, it is also important to work closely with the deans of undergraduate and graduate medical education, the dean of faculty development, and the ombudsman.
Additionally, an effective CWO regularly interacts with department heads and hospital executives and builds a network of local wellness leaders in each department.
“An effective CWO will be at the executive table when major organizational decisions are made and can raise the question: How will this decision affect the well-being of the workforce?” said Christine A. Sinsky, MD, vice president of job satisfaction at the AMA, who co-authored the toolkit. “Having established good working relationships with other leaders will go a long way to facilitating those conversations.”
It’s also helpful to plan to meet individually with key stakeholders before a particularly difficult issue is raised at the executive level, Dr Sinsky said. “People often react more favorably when they are not caught off guard by an issue that may overlap with their areas of responsibility.”
When it’s time for a work party
Having relationships with many people within the organization will be useful for a CWO when it comes time to commission a time-limited thematic working group aimed at helping the organization move forward on a specific issue that covers a number of organizational silos or departments.
The role of the CWO and its team in these working groups is usually to help develop the mission, mandate and timeline before appointing other institutional leaders to lead the working group. A few things to keep in mind when creating these working groups:
- Working groups can focus on things like the needs of physicians at different stages of their careers or the needs of physician parents, such as nursing mothers and more.
- While others will lead these working groups, the CWO should not underestimate the logistical support and time required by these working groups.
- As a general rule, a CWO should not supervise or mandate more than one task force per year.
The CWO must also “be very careful when considering which topics are appropriate for a working group it is going to commission, and which are not.” For example, do not charge task forces on topics that fall directly under the leadership of other executives unless they are coordinated and commissioned together. Workgroups focused on teamwork, specific HR benefits or policies, EHR-related factors, and staffing issues likely fall into this category.
Additionally, the CEO or Dean – not the CWO – should be the one to initiate major workgroup topics, including specific dimensions of organizational culture. The role of the CWO may be to chair, rather than mandate, the working group. Workgroup topics aimed at practice efficiency are best addressed at the work unit level and not in a corporate level workgroup.
Learn more about how to lay the foundation for your organization with the “Creating a Chief Wellness Officer” toolkit or by watching the webinar.
The open-access AMA STEPS Forward toolkits provide innovative strategies that enable physicians and their staff to thrive in the new healthcare environment. These courses can help you prevent physician burnout, create the organizational foundation for joy in medicine, and improve practice efficiency.