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April 19, 2023

SCHA Aims to Support Health Workforce by Transforming Health Workplace

(Columbia, South Carolina – April 19, 2023) The South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) is launching a comprehensive initiative to support healthcare workers by transforming the places where they work.

A $1.8 million grant from The Duke Endowment to the SCHA Foundation will fund efforts to identify, test and foster adoption of fundamental workplace culture changes aimed at realigning the value proposition, improving job fulfillment, increasing retention, and restructuring the workforce experience.

“Nationally and in South Carolina, our healthcare workforce is experiencing alarming rates of stress and burnout, impacting their overall wellbeing and connection to their calling,” said Jen Wright, SCHA’s director of workforce experience. “We were grappling with these issues before the pandemic, but they have rapidly multiplied over the past two to three years. Our care givers deserve better, and we can do better.”

The impact extends beyond the physical and mental health of individual healthcare workers: burnout, stress, and understaffing can affect the quality of patient care, and clinician turnover can cost hospitals millions of dollars each year.

“We can’t address this crisis with wellness programs alone,” Wright said. “We need to totally redesign the healthcare work experience to support the current and future workforce.”

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is a key partner in the project and will serve as an incubator to pilot, test and evaluate programs to provide evidence-based documentation and encourage statewide replication.

“We look forward to our partnership with SCHA and helping change the culture of wellness at our institution and across the state. As a critical care physician, I know that this can’t be a one-size fits all approach; we have to be innovative and meet all team members where they are and customize wellbeing interventions, “said Whitney Marvin, MD, assistant professor and co-director of the Pediatric Physician Well-Being Program, Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital.

Next steps in the project include:

  • Deploying SCHA’s Care Team Wellbeing Survey, which incorporates the nationally recognized Professional Fulfillment Index, to provide baseline data on healthcare worker perceptions, concerns and “pain points;”
  • Conducting focus-group research with clinicians, administrative staff, and support staff;
  • Appointing an advisory board to review progress, inform next steps, identify what’s working, and share results along the way;
  • Securing written commitments from hospital and health system leaders to prioritize the work experience and invest in a culture where employees feel valued and supported.

“The support from The Duke Endowment has accelerated our sense of excitement,” Wright said. “There are many healthcare employee support and wellness programs, but they’re often siloed or limited in scope. Now we have the resources to break the mold and redesign the healthcare workplace.”

Media Contact: Schipp Ames
Phone: 803.744.3543