Skip to main content
EMERGING INNOVATIONS
New

Battle Buddies: rapid deployment of a psychological resilience intervention for health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Albott CS, Wozniak JR, McGlinch BP, Wall MH, Gold BS, Vinogradov S. Battle Buddies: Rapid Deployment of a Psychological Resilience Intervention for Health Care Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Anesth Analg. 2020;131(1):43-54. 

Save

Print

October 27, 2021

The relationship between burnout among healthcare workers and poor patient safety outcomes has been well-documented. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated burnout risk due to increased emotional exhaustion, stress, and fatigue. In response to effects of pandemic, the University of Minnesota developed the MN Resilience Program. This innovative program leverages the “Battle Buddy” system used in the US Army, and resilience principles to support the psychological and emotional well-being among healthcare workers and to connect healthcare workers to peer support.  

The program is comprised of two main components. First, healthcare workers were assigned a “Buddy” based on clinical expertise, responsibilities, and life circumstances (e.g., school-aged children). Buddies are intended to help each other validate feelings and experiences, identify and address stressors, and develop and maintain resilience by figuring out adaptive ways to cope. Second, the program assigned each unit or department a faculty member from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to serve as a mental health consultant. Their role was to help identify stressors, be available in situations of escalating or accumulating stress, and to connect individuals with other professional support resources.

To ensure successful implementation and adoption, the program convened a Steering Committee (comprised of key faculty with relevant clinical expertise as well as one faculty member serving in the Army Medical Reserve), which was responsible for gathering program endorsement from hospital and departmental leadership, receiving feedback, and resolving any problems that arise. As of July 2020, an observational study is underway to evaluate the impact of the program on responses to traumatic stress, mental health systems, and rates of professional burnout.

Related Resources

University of Minnesota Medical School. MN Resilience Program. [Free full text

Battle Buddies Tip Sheet [Free full text]

Battle Buddies Pocket Card [Free full text]

Battle Buddies Roll-Out Diagram [Free full text]

Related News Articles: 

University of Minnesota. Military 'battle buddy' system comes to hospital and clinics. M News and Events. Published May 5, 2020. Accessed September 27, 2021. [Free full text

Advanced Care Hospitalist. Staying sane through stress: a look at hospital wellness resources. Published May 5, 2021. [Free full text

Related Studies: 

Heath C, Sommerfield A, von Ungern-Sternberg BS. Resilience strategies to manage psychological distress among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative review. Anaesthesia. 2020;75(10):1364-1371. [Free full text]

Schreiber M, Cates DS, Formanski S, et al. Maximizing the resilience of healthcare workers in multi-hazard events: lessons from the 2014-2015 Ebola response in Africa. Mil Med. 2019;184(Suppl 1):114-120. [Free full text]

Contact the Innovator

Sophia Vinogradov, MD
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
University of Minnesota Medical School
svinogra@umn.edu

Jeff Wozniak, PhD
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
University of Minnesota Medical School
jwozniak@umn.edu 

Save

Print

Cite
Citation

Albott CS, Wozniak JR, McGlinch BP, Wall MH, Gold BS, Vinogradov S. Battle Buddies: Rapid Deployment of a Psychological Resilience Intervention for Health Care Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Anesth Analg. 2020;131(1):43-54.