Denver Health transforms a support group for its staff to help with the stresses of the coronavirus

Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 20:35:44-04

DENVER — With more patients and novel coronavirus cases expected to grow over the next couple of weeks, hospital workers have been slammed.

Sean McNamara has been working as a registered nurse at Denver Health for the last year and says COVID-19 has created a new set of challenges.

"The stress has definitely been elevated. Mainly, the new stresses, I would say, are the virus. You always worry about, 'What if I get infected ... am I going to infect a loved one? Are we doing everything we can? Am I washing my hands enough? Am I taking all the precautions?' That’s always in the back of my mind."

Thanks to a new program Denver Health started in January, doctors, nurses and staff can get support in dealing with the stresses of their jobs. Because of the coronavirus, Resilience in Stressful Events or, RISE, transformed.

Maria Gonsalves Schimpf, helped bring RISE to Denver Health earlier this year and says there are currently more than 50 peer responders dedicated to helping staff in need and more are expected.

"We trained 27 new responders last week and we’ll probably train another 15 later this afternoon."

RISE gives all staff members a chance to recharge in a dedicated space and speak with someone if they need to. McNamara says this resource is something all hospitals should think about providing to make sure first responders on the front lines are taken care of so they can continue taking care of us.

"I think that this resource could benefit staff workers across the country, I think that they should have a place where they can go and just relax and people to talk to for when the stress gets just so high that they really need those peers to talk with."