The CISM team has continued to thrive and impact positive change

Amy Morrison-Maybee, Employee

2019 has been a year filled with growth for the Bronson CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) team. Despite various changes and challenges, the CISM team has continued to thrive and impact positive change within the organization as well as within the community. The team’s dedicated group of employee volunteers have facilitated 125 interventions this year after responding to a variety of events. The CISM team has been utilized most after a patient death or difficult situation involving a patient or family member. The team is also called upon frequently after events that involve workplace violence, as well as when an employee or employee’s family member dies. Bronson employees are not immune to the toll that working in healthcare can take. No matter what type of situation, the CISM team is honored to be able to help support our staff that do such incredible work every day.

This year, the CISM team set a record for the number of employees that received CISM support and education after experiencing a traumatic or difficult situation in the workplace. The team is proud to share that nearly 1,200 employees have benefited from CISM services in 2019. In addition to expanding services to all Bronson locations, CISM has also introduced a new intervention, Code Lavender, which provides an opportunity for staff to regroup, recover and find connection after a traumatic or challenging event. This is done by providing comfort items, as well as educational handouts on common stress reactions and self-care. Code Lavender is able to serve large groups, providing more opportunity for staff to experience much needed care and support.

The CISM team has also focused more on providing pre-crisis education to staff in an effort to improve coping, manage stress and build resilience. Pre-crisis education also informs leadership and employees about the services and benefits that we provide. We were able to provide these important educational opportunities to many groups throughout the system over the last year.

In addition to the work being done internally, members of the Bronson CISM team, including  Dr. Tyler Gibb, Kim Barr and myself, have worked with the Michigan legislature and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association to amend the current CISM law in Michigan to include confidentiality and legal protections for healthcare professionals and individuals employed by a healthcare facility. This means any information shared by a healthcare professional during a CISM intervention is confidential and cannot be disclosed in a civil, criminal or administrative proceeding. These protections will go a long way in helping to encourage our staff to seek out vital support provided CISM, not only at Bronson but at all other healthcare facilities throughout the state of Michigan who offer CISM services to their staff. In addition, these protections will also help to remove stigma associated with utilizing mental health care and emotional support and motivate healthcare workers throughout the entire state to seek access to these much need services.

The CISM team remains thankful to the Bronson Health Foundation, executive leadership, and the many other leaders and employees who champion and support our work.

I would also like to thank the Bronson employees who volunteer their time on the CISM team.  Their commitment to fulfilling the mission of the team, and their willingness to make themselves available to support their colleagues any time a need arises, including nights, weekends, and holidays, is inspiring. This is a critical service we’re able to offer to Bronson, and it’s been wonderful being able to lead this group of dedicated volunteers.

We look forward to continuing to serve Bronson in the many years to come.

What is CISM? Bronson is committed to helping employees be well and live a balanced lifestyle. Following a critical or traumatic event, it can be difficult to function normally at work or home. The Bronson Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team is available to help employees through these difficult situations by providing healthy and effective coping techniques.