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Abstract

Emergency departments (ED) across the country were stretched to the breaking point as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The chaos, fear, and uncertainty impacted the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of not only the patients and families but also nurses, providers, and the myriad of other clinical and non-clinical staff providing care in the ED. Compounding these challenges was the dehumanizing effects of providing care in personal protective equipment (PPE). The burnout ED teams experienced left them feeling defeated and unsure of how to reconnect with patients and families. The purpose of this narrative is to share the story of two clinical leaders, Christine M. Walden, Ph.D., R.N., NE-BC and Leigh A. Patterson, M.D., MAEd., who partnered to rehumanize the patient experience in the ED after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and to share their learning and ultimate success in improving the patient experience. Equally as important was how feedback gathered through their conversations with patients personally reconnected them back to their passion and their practice, reassuring them that they could lead the way forward by listening to the voices of their patients.

Experience Framework

This article is associated with the Staff & Provider Engagement lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework (https://www.theberylinstitute.org/ExperienceFramework).

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