How Healthcare Leaders Can Stay Positive Post-COVID

The emergence of COVID-19 has led to cutbacks across nearly every industry within the US. Despite increases in patient demand, even healthcare organizations have experienced a financial drain as more profitable service lines have been placed on pause and budget dollars are reallocated to the additional equipment and technology needed to take care of patients. As a result, many practices and hospitals are finding themselves stretched thin.

News reports show that even some of the nation’s biggest health systems have had to introduce pay cuts, place staff on furlough and reduce FYEs just to weather the storm. These types of decisions can be disheartening for those impacted. Many of these individuals are now anxious about how a change in income will impact themselves and their families. Those who were satisfied in their current role and organization also face the task of figuring out what comes next. Whether your role has been reduced, eliminated or you are still struggling to power through working from home, I can tell you after 20 years of experience in healthcare leadership that finding ways to maintain a positive outlook can help you build your resiliency and not only survive but thrive.

Here are 5 tips for staying positive in the time to come:


1. Develop a “new normal” daily routine.

Developing and sticking to a daily routine can be helpful to your mental well-being. In fact, daily routines are known to reduce anxiety, increase confidence, and even improve the grief you might feel based on the changes occurring around you. Try settling into a daily routine that helps you find consistency. This can be as simple as getting up at the same time each morning, starting the day with breakfast, along with meditation or exercise. For those on the hunt for a new role, this can also include carving out some time each day for job-search tasks like updating your resume, writing a cover letter, or revising your LinkedIn profile.


2. Set measurable goals to stay motivated.

Setting small, measurable goals can help you stay motivated when there is a lull tied to a reduction in hours or lost role. By setting daily or weekly goals, and tracking your progress along the way, you can avoid frustration and celebrate your productivity. Try creating a list of companies or positions of interest and set a goal to research and apply for one new position each day. If you are interested in expanding your interests or network, you can make it a goal to connect with at least one new person within your industry a day or write and publish a relevant article on LinkedIn. You may also set some other weekly targets such revising your resume or reaching out to past mentors and colleagues to secure a potential reference or to simply reinvigorate prior network connections.


3. Create list of your achievements.

It’s easy to get frustrated or feel down when job searching between roles. This is when I encourage others to keep in mind all the things you have learned and achieved in your career. Not only is this a great exercise for those revising their resume but it can also help restore confidence. If it’s been awhile since you have taken stock on all the great things you’ve done, start by putting together a list of achievements. Consider specific problems you have helped solve, as well as major projects you’ve assisted on.

Resume tip: Consider succinctly featuring these wins on your resume using the STAR format. What was the Situation you or your team faced? What your task or role in addressing the situation? What are some of the specific Actions you took? What were the Results?


4. Volunteer to gain skills & boost your resume.

One idea I strongly encourage you to incorporate into your new routine is volunteer work. Not only can this keep you busy until you return to a full schedule or land a new job, but it can also be a great resume builder as it demonstrates you spent your time off in a productive way. It also gives you some examples of how you have been able to share your skills in different ways during job interviews. Volunteering can also be a great way to further build your network, develop new skills and potentially find a pathway into similar (or even different) industry or role that matches your career interests.


5. Focus on the things you can control.

There are some things we simply have no control over like the economy, industry trends, job market and other things happening around us. For those looking at a new role, we may not even be able to guarantee a timetable for securing our next role or that the salary and location will be exactly where we are today. Stressing too much about the things you cannot change can quickly lead to frustration and even burnout. Remember that your situation is temporary. You may not be able to control the when or where, they will eventually fall into place. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and remind yourself of all the other important things in your life, like your friends, family and hobbies. In fact, make sure spending time with your friends, reading a good book, or anything else that helps you maintain a positive outlook on life is built into your daily routine.