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IONL Priority 1 Questionnaire

The team of leaders working on achievement of “IONL Priority 1: Lead and influence the health care workforce” have a questionnaire that they would like for you to complete.

We would appreciate your feedback in our online survey. All responses will remain confidential and secure. Thank you in advance for your valuable insights. Your input will be used to ensure that we continue to meet your needs. We appreciate your trust and look forward to serving you in the future.

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Columbus Regional Health Promotes Glick

Staci Glick

Health care professionals face stress from COVID-19 challenges

Blakely embraced her because she understood how difficult it was to care for a patient in intensive care day after day. After developing relationships with patients and families and then see that person take a sudden turn for the worse and die is heartbreaking for the nurses caring for them.

Health care workers like Blakley have been putting their safety on the line to care for COVID-19 patients for months, through the initial surge and now as cases and hospitalizations are rising across Indiana.

Many have been on the front lines for more than 150 days without a break, said Jean Putnam, executive vice president and network chief nursing officer at Community Health Network. The emotional roller coaster that nurses have to face every day has had a huge impact on them. She has seen incredible compassion, sadness, joy, and frustration from their nurses daily with little complaint because it is what many of them feel called to do, she explained.

“Our nurses were in there day after day, moment after moment,” Putnam said. “That to me is what nursing is all about, being with people in their darkest hours.”

Thursday was yet another day of soaring cases of the highly contagious virus — 1,051 new cases statewide for a total of 71,015 plus six more death for a total of 2,811 Hoosiers who have died. With the rise in cases has been a rise in hospitalizations, as noted by Dr. Kristina Box, commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, at Wednesday’s virtual press briefing on the pandemic.

Blakley, a registered nurse for Indiana University Health, has experienced firsthand the difficulties of taking care of COVID-19 patients. The unit she works on was transformed into one that took care of COVID-19 patients. All 32 beds were filled at the peak in March, she said.

“It was pretty scary walking into work every day not knowing what kind of patient load you would have or how severe it would be that day, it took a toll on all of us. We have relationships with these patients,” Blakley said. “The losses that we had were really hard for us, just like it was for the families. We were there with them the whole time.”

The challenges of caring for COVID-19 patients begin as they don their personal protective equipment for every visit to a patient’s room. The process can take up to a minute to make sure everything is on correctly, which means that they cannot get into rooms quickly, Blakely said.

Because of the preparation time, her unit used nurses from surgery and nursing assistants to create teams that cared for four to five patients. The two nurses under the head ICU nurse assisted as “runners” to bring them things a patient may need while in an infected room to ensure the nurse did not have to gown up as frequently.

“They are wearing a mask that is really tight to your face,” Putnam said. “Then add on a hot gown and goggles and a face shield for 12 and a half hours a day, sometimes longer. That challenged some of even the most resilient professionals.”

Laurie Gerdt, cessation quality advisor and licensed mental health counselor for the Indiana Hospital Association, calls what health care professionals are facing “burnouts.” She defines nurse burnout as emotional exhaustion and sometimes depersonalization from their patients.

She went on to cite a graphic by Dr. Victor Tseng, an Atlanta pulmonary and critical care physician, that studied the COVID-19 pandemic in China and laid out four stages.

The first wave of the pandemic is immediate mortality and spike in cases; the second includes the impact of resources, or lack of them, and restrictions on urgent non-COVID-19 issues; the third is the interruption of care for those with chronic illnesses; and the fourth wave is the long-term psychological trauma and economic impact.

The fourth wave can last for years or even decades and looks at the long-term effects of mental illness, trauma, and burnout health care workers faced, according to Tseng’s study.

Dr. Anne Gilbert, an IU Health psychiatrist and virtual director of behavioral health, cited another study done in China showing 60% of health care workers there are facing high levels of anxiety and 25% are dealing with clinical depression in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Gilbert and Putnam both focused on how health care workers are facing the same personal issues of life in a pandemic as everyone else on top of their work-induced anxieties. Many have children going back to school or may have to care for elderly parents, so they worry about taking care of their families and making sure not to bring the virus home.

“They have the same stresses, but on top of that they have the additional stress of exposure to the pandemic,” Gilbert said, “Health care workers have seen more people dying of COVID-19 so they can’t help but take that home.”

IU Health and Community Health Network hospitals have received help from within their organizations and in their respective communities to support their nurses.

Both institutions were able to continue to pay their employees, even if they had to take time off due to illness. They also have received discounts from local hotels to put their employees in if they had quarantine from their families. Many restaurants were also providing meals for nurses on shift almost every day during the peak of the pandemic.

Taylor Dixon is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

Most states fail to conduct all nursing home safety inspections

Only 54% of U.S. nursing homes have received recent safety inspections, with only four states reaching all the facilities within their borders, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Under the CARES Act, CMS received $80 million to support states’ ability to conduct nursing home inspections. CMS announced it may withdraw a portion of CARES Act funding from states that don’t complete all surveys by July 31 or a later agreed-upon date. “Early analysis shows that facilities with a one-star quality rating were more likely to have large numbers of COVID-19 cases than facilities with a five-star quality rating,” the agency said in a statement. CMS aims to improve the safety of nursing homes with such targeted accountability measures. (Modern Healthcare story, 6/1/20)

IONE Official Name Change Announced

As of October 2019, the Indiana Organization of Nurse Executives (IONE) has officially changed its name to the Indiana Organization for Nursing Leadership (IONL). This coincides with AONE’s (our national organization) change to AONL. The webpage address has now changed as well from to the new URL, IONL is a bit more broad and includes all types of nursing leaders rather than just executives, as the name IONE seemed to do, even though IONE always accepted all types of nursing professionals and/or students. Please note our organizational name change to the new Indiana Organization for Nursing Leadership (IONL) going forward.

Exciting News from AONE

Exciting News from AONE

New name announced – American Organization for Nursing Leadership

New Name. Same Mission.

Our name, tagline and look are changing, but our mission of shaping health care through innovative and expert nursing leadership remain the same.

As AONE evolves to AONL — the American Organization for Nursing Leadership — we look forward to continuing to help our business partners advance the future of health care. Visit our new web site to see our vision of the future of AONL.

AHA Offers Strategies for Reducing Health Care Costs

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has responded to the request of Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., for information about strategies to address the cost of health care in America. The AHA urged Congress and the Administration to take further action to help reduce input and administrative costs, as well as maximize the number of insured patients. AHA shared specific recommendations on reducing the cost of prescription drugs, reducing the regulatory burden and pursuing administrative simplification, supporting hospitals in improving patient quality and safety, maximizing enrollment in comprehensive coverage, and enacting liability reform. Read more here.