Before she was called to become director of mission for Mercy Health – Youngstown, Deanna Ford served as a nurse providing direct care on the frontlines. In fact, she spent 17 years in the emergency department (ED), followed by seven years as an intensive care unit (ICU) manager. Overall, Deanna spent 21 of her 32 years in health care with our ministry.
With this type of background, Deanna can readily empathize with the nurses and other health care workers who have dealt with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic the past few years. She feels this makes her involvement with the nurse well-being committee even more rewarding.
“It was a privilege for me to join a group of dedicated system-level leaders who were working on initiatives that not only supported nursing, but could be supportive of all associates,” Deanna shares. “The global pandemic has been having an impact on everyone, most especially frontline staff. It has created more stress and more demands than any other time in recent history.”
The purpose of our nurse well-being committee is to provide resources to leaders so they can respond to team members’ needs and promote a caring culture.
“We know our clinicians and other members of the health care team are called to care for others,” Deanna says. “This committee was dedicated to ensuring we had a system-level approach with well thought out initiatives that leaders can use to care for themselves and their teams.”
Two of the initiatives include associate blessings and compassion response.
“While our ministry has varied ways of providing blessings and responding compassionately to critical events that occur in hospital settings or departments, these tools help harmonize best practices and offer resources to anyone across our ministry to access for guidance,” Deanna explains.
When Deanna transitioned to her Mission role, it felt like a big shift at the time. Now, as she reflects on her journey, she sees it as an immense gift and blessing. She’s grateful for how God’s grace and spirit are part of her life and career. She feels she is now able to provide healing in a different way.
“These past two-plus years have been more challenging than ever before,” Deanna states. “We have all been affected personally and professionally by an unprecedented pandemic where many times we did not have control or answers. Now, more than ever, we are called to be a compassionate and healing presence.”
Happy Nurses Week! The compassionate care provided by our dedicated nursing professionals is at the core of everything we do at Mercy Health, where nurses mean the world.
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