Supporting Healthcare Heroes in the Trenches: Resilience and Teamwork for Healthcare Teams Serving Vulnerable Populations

Sunday, Jul 29, 2018, 4:15 pm - 5:45 pm

While working with patients from vulnerable populations can be very rewarding and fulfilling, healthcare team members need support in order to avoid burnout. In this workshop, we demonstrate segments of a newly-developed eight-step process for fortifying and energizing IP healthcare teams who work with high risk patient populations.

How does a community health center effectively care for their own healthcare teams?  The goal of this workshop is to demonstrate an eight-step professional development program for provider teams working on the front lines of our healthcare safety net. Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) provide care to millions of patients without insurance: immigrants, homeless, at risk pediatrics, transgender, veterans, the mentally ill, those experiencing substance use disorders or multiple chronic illnesses. These patients present with multi-faceted, complex health care needs, with difficult social determinants. Addressing these needs and assuring these individuals have an active voice in their care requires coordination and collaboration among a diverse array of professionals and community members. We all know that these services are critical to our nation, but we wondered, “Who is looking after the care and training of the health professions personnel, who interface with these complex patients?” Care teams who treat vulnerable patients are themselves at risk, and in need of care and training.  

This workshop introduces an eight step, mid-level training program designed to improve healthcare teamwork and resilience for teams caring for vulnerable populations.  Participants will review rewards and challenges associated with working with special populations, prioritize training topics, and apply theory related to team self care.

In 2018, we conducted focus groups with three healthcare teams dedicated to treating the homeless, at risk pediatrics, and transgender patients. The results of this needs assessment indicated that although these care teams had received basic training in collaborative practice and CQI, they faced challenges associated with stress and emotions coping with patients and their families. While experienced and successful, they sought to optimize care through curriculum content associated with their specific patient populations. These team members expressed a desire to meet with other providers across disciplines and teams to cross-pollinate best practices and logistics associated with highly functioning teams and care circles. Focus groups with leaders suggested reflective time with colleagues for bonding and support.

In the first part of the workshop, presenters will share the rewards, risks, and challenges of working with underserved uncovered in the needs assessment.  Participants will work in healthcare teams to discuss challenges and solutions and the composition of ideal core and extended healthcare teams for a given sub-population, and the ways to solicit patient input.

In the second segment of the workshop, participants will work through a goal-setting activity. Using the training topics menu, participants will select areas of interest, ranking training topics most pertinent to them, and brainstorming possible sub-themes associated with training topics.

In the third segment of the workshop, participants will explore theory related to team self care topics such as moral distress, compassion fatigue, trust, and situational awareness.


Interprofessional Continuing Education

This activity has been planned and implemented by the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education. In support of improving patient care, the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. The intent is to provide accreditation and continuing education credit for this workshop. For questions regarding continuing education, please email