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August 20, 2020
Valley Health System has collaborated with NATAL, the largest global trauma treatment and resiliency training organization, to offer Operational Stress Management (OSM) training to meet the needs of first responders. OSM is tailored to address the daily stresses first responders face by offering practical tools to prevent personal and professional burnout, and teach coping and decision-making skills to use in stressful situations.
Healthcare workers, specifically staff in the emergency department and first responders, witness traumatic events on a daily basis and Valley Health System saw the need to train workers how to identify and deal with stress before it causes problems such as depression, fatigue, and sleep deprivation and to bridge the gap between daily workplace and home life.
Terry Reiss, emergency management coordinator for Valley Health, and veteran medic of 30 years, chairs the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) hospital committee. She is a graduate of OSM and has trained with NATAL’s Israeli’s instructors. Terri has taught provider level courses. To date there have been over 1,000 people trained in the provider four-hour course and over 60 people have taken train the trainer courses. “We really did our research and wanted this program to be geared towards our people, not an off-the-shelf, cookie-cutter program. The classes help bring things out in the participants to help them learn how they can personally handle their stress,” she said.
Valley’s innovation puts them at the forefront of a culture change by approaching trauma in healthcare workers before PTSD takes hold by training and providing them the toolkit to understand how to recognize and cope with it.
OSM includes an introduction to resilience; detecting and coping with stress; finding the balance between personal and professional tension; teamwork and peer support; overcoming cognitive biases to make better operational decisions; post-traumatic growth; and psycho-educational screening tools to identify individuals at-risk and emergency interventions.
OSM has been widely received and other local health systems have begun to adopt the training. In addition to partnering with NATAL on the program, Valley has also worked closely with the Jersey City-Newark-Urban Areas Security Initiative and local fire departments. The training is ongoing, and podcasts and videos can be found on osmnj.org.
About Natal: NATAL is the largest and most comprehensive trauma treatment and resiliency training organization in Israel, whose mission is to address the prevalent problem of psychological trauma related to terrorism and war. With multiple programs, 250 therapists, and 180 highly trained volunteers throughout the country, it is an apolitical nonprofit organization.