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WNC Business

Pardee Hospital Foundation was awarded a grant from The Duke Endowment

Dec 21, 2022 02:55PM ● By WNC Business

Hendersonville – Pardee UNC Health Care will be increasing their focus on healthcare worker burnout and stress as a result of a $430,000 grant to Pardee Hospital Foundation from The Duke Endowment. The funds will be used over the course of three years to develop programs and resources to address healthcare worker burnout and stress. The goal of the comprehensive program, “In the Gap: Reaching for Resilience,” is to improve the resilience of Pardee’s more than 1,500 team members. Implementing these programs reinforces Pardee’s position among other broadminded and advanced organizations who are doing the same and recognizing that a team member’s overall health and wellness begins with their mental wellness.

“Healthcare workers are known for their ‘hustle culture’,” said Bridget Fluech, RN, Nursing Director of Psychiatric & Addictions Therapeutic Healing Services at Pardee UNC Health Care. “They work long hours, with demanding workloads that are often physically and mentally straining. This creates a culture that can result in team member burnout, to which there are multiple risks involved.”

We are grateful for funding from The Duke Endowment to be able to invest in the mental well-being of our team members to help improve morale, turnover, retention and recruitment, ultimately contributing to better quality care for our patients,” said John M. Bryant, Ed. D., Vice President of Workforce Development and Community Affairs at Pardee UNC Health Care. Bryant notes that job seekers are increasingly interested in a workplace culture that values emotional and mental well-being. He’s pleased to be able to include the program offerings in Pardee’s efforts to recruit top talent across all departments.

The program will offer four options for addressing stress and burnout for Pardee’s employees, including a Stress First Aid program, Proactive Wellness Rounds, a Resilience Room and Behavioral Health Services offered within Team Member Health. Bryant adds, “With these groundbreaking new programs and the recognition of the mental health needs of our team members, we’re further able to achieve our goal of creating a workplace that prioritizes employee wellness and a culture of support. We are proud to expand the definition of well-being to create a whole-person healthy workplace.”

Stress First Aid is a program aimed at improving recovery from stress reactions both in oneself and their coworkers. Champions will be identified in 20 different service lines. Using the SFA model, these Champions will be trained to assist in mitigating traumatic stress amongst their peers. They will help teach their peers to tolerate a stressful situation and focus on resiliency skills.

Proactive Wellness Rounds builds on Pardee’s successful, but limited, Mindful Minute initiative. The Mindful Minute is a brief moment of relaxation and mindfulness through the use of progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and guided imagery, in addition to education and dialogue on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. With a dedicated registered nurse, the expansion will include other nursing units, all shifts, other departments, and off-site teams at clinics. This service will be paired with a Mobile Resilience cart to include sensory items, a warmer for soft hand towels, and other stress relief items.

Pardee will establish a resilience room where staff can go for a 15-minute reprieve from their duties to recharge. The room will include low lighting, massage chairs, soothing art, a water feature with quiet bubbles, and options for aromatherapy.

The final component of the grant will be increased behavioral health services within Team Member Health. Dedicated behavioral health specialists will meet with team members at a safe place to discuss issues that are impacting their lives and their jobs. Two full-time social workers and a part-time advanced care provider will provide counseling, medication management, and additional resources and referrals.

About The Duke Endowment

Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $4 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.

About Pardee UNC Health Care

Pardee UNC Health Care is a not-for-profit community hospital founded in 1953 and is managed by UNC Health Care. The hospital is licensed for 222 acute care beds. Pardee has several locations separate from the main campus, including a comprehensive physician practice network, a cancer center, four urgent care locations and six orthopedic clinics. For more information or to find a physician, visit