Guiding Nursing Team With Calm And Strength

Charleen Clark

Director Of Nursing,
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gouverneur

My Role: My leadership skills have never been tested more in this time of COVID-19. It’s more essential than ever to be there for my staff and to be visible. If I’m maintaining a level of leadership, calmness and support, it really helps to guide them and keep them focused on the job.

Why I’m on the Front Lines: For me personally, I have no other choice. If I didn’t do this work, who else would?

We did not choose to be in this type of crisis situation. I never would have thought this would occur in a lifetime. But that’s what we’re here to do. We’re the best chance that everyone has right now at beating this thing.

How Are You Keeping Nurses Motivated: I lend an open ear to show that we’re listening and that we hear them. I make sure to let them know of the many resources NYC Health + Hospitals has available to them. They’re on the front lines and so busy doing the work that they don’t have time to be reading about all of the resources that you see on the Intranet.

We’ve been able to provide them information about the hotel rooms, child care, transportation and connect them to the different resources available. They’re very appreciative, and it helps to keep them coming back day after day to serve our residents.

How Has the Crisis Changed You: Being in long- term health care for 25 years, I’ve dealt with many, many emergencies, from 9/11 to Superstorm Sandy. But this pandemic is lasting much longer, so maintaining my stamina is really important. I have to be able to go home and decompress as best as possible to keep my strength up as a leader so that I can consistently be there for my staff.

Managing Stress: Before this, I was doing some meditation and deep breathing. Now, I’ve tried to make that a regular practice, along with yoga. It helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel and helps me keep my staff looking toward the future and getting through this difficult time together.