How Healthcare Organizations Care for Caregivers (Podcast)

Providing holistic support for caregivers’ physical, emotional and financial well-being is more important than ever

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Three years ago, Cleveland Clinic appointed Kelly Hancock, DNP, RN, NE-BC, FAAN as its first-ever chief caregiver officer to ensure that the health system was taking care of its caregivers so they could provide the best care for patients. That goes beyond offering competitive salaries and benefits.

“As our workforces have changed over the years, we too must pivot the way we think about how we support caregivers and employees,” says Hancock.

In a recent episode of Cleveland Clinic’s Nurse Essentials podcast, Hancock shares strategies adopted by Cleveland Clinic’s Caregiver Office to support the physical, emotional and financial well-being of its nearly 80,000 caregivers. She discusses:

  • Designing and sustaining programs that support caregivers from day one to retirement
  • The importance of caregiver engagement
  • Adopting best practices from industries outside of healthcare
  • Evaluating job descriptions based on necessary skills and competencies rather than degrees
  • Building apprenticeships and professional career pathways

Click the podcast player above to listen to the episode now, or read on for a short edited excerpt. Check out more Nurse Essentials episodes at or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Podcast excerpt

Podcast host Carol Pehotsky, DNP, RN, NEA-BC: What should a nurse be looking for from their organization in terms of well-being, how they’re cared for? What are questions you’d advise somebody to ask during the interview process to learn more?

Hancock: If you’re really looking to see, “What organization do I align with? Where do I fit in?” there are a couple things I would advocate for. When you’re thinking about being employed in an organization, ask about the mission statement, ask about the vision, ask about the values. See if it aligns with your values. Does the mission call your attention? Do you see this shared vision? I think that would be the first thing.

In terms of shared governance, as you know, Carol, we have many of our applicants seeking employment here asking if we have shared governance. And they not only ask do we have it, but is it very active? And what impact does it have? So, they want to see how can they measure the impact of what we’ve created here and how can they be a part of it?

I would also ask about engagement scores. You know, tell me about your engagement scores. Tell me about your planning efforts. How do you include the nursing voice in those efforts?

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And then, I think, ask about growth opportunities. If I come in here on a medical-surgical unit, what can I expect in terms of a career pathway? Is there an opportunity for me to go to the ICU if I want or to the OR or to pediatrics? Ask about what opportunities or pathways they have. We hear that a lot from these applicants. They want to know about tuition reimbursement.  Will we pay for the certification, educational review courses?

I think those are all top of mind in thinking about, “Is this organization one for me that focuses on my future growth and development so I could be my true best self when I come to work every day?”