Business for a Better World: Mindful Counseling and Psychotherapy
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 was a scary time for everyone, but perhaps not more so than frontline medical workers like intensive care unit nurse Pauline Vaserman.
“We were very vulnerable, I think,” recalls Vaserman, an intensive care nurse of 15 years. “The typical critical care nurse is tough. Depending on our job, we tend to shut down emotionally and psychologically.
“When the pandemic started, there were a lot of things we didn’t know…that was the scariest part. It was the fear of what we didn’t know was going to happen. We had nurses who were writing their wills. There was guidance from the CDC and government agencies, but even they didn’t know about it, and it was terrifying.”
Brandy Kenworthy, founder and psychotherapist of Mindworthy Counseling & Psychotherapy in Schaumburg, saw all of this and realized things could quickly reach a breaking point.
So she acted proactively, creating a toolkit of hardware that nurses like Vaserman could have in their work environment to help them navigate ever more difficult waters.
These resources, including a self-reflection checklist, a crisis coping worksheet, information on where nurses can attend group therapy sessions, and information on a full consciousness called Head space, were in filing cabinets placed in three nursing stations at North West Community Hospital. in Arlington Heights.
“They were driving every day to the hospital, to work, to working excessive hours,” Kenworthy said. “Most of us were privileged to stay safe in our homes, and they didn’t. They were scared, and they were tired, and worried about their families because of their exposure. My heart s is poured out on them.”
Here is the troubling part. These resources are still needed today because even though COVID-19 infection rates have declined somewhat, critical care nurses face different challenges.
“Even before the pandemic, nurses were exposed to trauma,” Kenworthy said. “From what I hear there is a shortage of nurses. The numbers (COVID-19) may be down, but they are understaffed and they have to work harder and harder, which is not good for their well-being. They need to step up and work more shifts.”
Vaserman agreed. It wasn’t until February or March 2021″ when the mass exodus started. After the second wave ended, honestly, I think it was a reflection. It felt like it was worth it, and can I start over?”
Kenworthy has nearly 20 years of career experience working with adults, couples, teens and families. His practice recently expanded to a group practice and moved to a new location at 1933 N. Meacham Road in Schaumburg.
She continues to be vigilant. In addition to offering free monthly support groups for frontline medical workers, she plans to partner with Northwest Community Hospital to offer free programming — in-person or virtual — in recognition of Nurses Week, June 6-12. May 12.
Thus, its objective is simple.
“I have friends who are close to my heart as intensive care nurses and I wanted to support them,” she said. “We’re cut from the same cloth in that we have to stop and check and say, ‘How are you? I have a special place in my heart to help the helpers.
“I think they tend to be very strong people who move on to the next shift, the next patient, the next day,” Kenworthy said. “They are doers.”
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