Submitted by Debra Gerardi, PCC

The Coaching in Community resilience coaching initiative used a group coaching model to support nurse leaders through the creation of virtual healer’s retreats, to provide ongoing respite and renewal in a compassionate holding space.

 Throughout the first nine months of the pandemic (April 2020- December 2020), 37 AONL nurse manager fellows and 32 AONL director fellows, and eight executive fellows came together to share experiences, learn from each other, renew their self-confidence and restore their own well-being. Through connection, peer-learning, and resilience coaching, this virtual community provided a lifeline for nurse leaders when they needed it the most. Additional spot coaching was provided along the way to supplement the group sessions.

Virtual sessions were held beginning April 2, 2020. Sessions were held on Zoom, allowing them to connect virtually and face-to-face. Invitations were sent out for “drop-in” sessions, scheduled bi-weekly for each group with the nurse manager and director fellowship participants meeting on alternating weeks. The nurse leaders could drop in at two scheduled times every other Friday. Initially, sessions were planned for 30 minutes and were quickly extended to one hour due to popularity and deep discussion. Participants had the option of requesting individual spot coaching sessions outside of the group sessions.

Between April and December, a total of 52 sessions were held. Several of the nurse leaders chose to attend both sessions on a given day in order to reinforce their connection with others from across the country. Participants were offered the choice to drop-in for a portion of the session or stay for the entire time. The consistency of scheduling combined with the flexibility for dropping in contributed to the success of the program.

Each session was loosely configured around an agenda that included a check-in, time to connect with others who were having similar experiences, peer-learning discussions, and real-time coaching. The format was designed to encourage self-reflection and reinforce connection to their own well-being along with identification of practical actions to enhance their personal resilience. An intentional space was created to hold the groups in a way that enabled them to feel safe with one another, share openly and reflect on how they were coping.

One coach served as the volunteer coach, and she worked with the AONL fellowship program education director to schedule and convene the sessions. The number of hours coached over the nine months was 52 group coaching hours and 12 individual, spot coaching hours. The impact was measured by an informal survey sent to the participants in March 2021. Their feedback has been shared via an article published in June 2021.