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Dr. Catherine Staton on Duke Emergency Medicine's Resiliency Working Group

Friday, November 13, 2020
By Erin Hall, Emergency Medicine

Photo above: Dr. Haramol Gill at break with security

Since COVID-19’s arrival, finding ways to stay connected to family, friends, and coworkers has been a struggle. We, as a global community, have been forced to think creatively and here at Duke, we have been fortunate to have individuals, such as Dr. Catherine Staton, who are dedicated to finding ways to keep everyone connected.

Dr. Catherine Staton,

Associate Professor of

Emergency Medicine

“What we have to keep in mind is that this will be a marathon, not a sprint,” Dr. Staton explained as to the reason behind the start of the various resilience activities. The wellness of our Duke providers was something that Dr. Staton and our Duke ED leadership team realized would need to be a priority. “In order to provide optimal care, care providers themselves need to be cared for,” she asserted. So, Dr. Staton initiated the Resiliency Working Group to help provide education, support, and appreciation for Duke Emergency Medicine.

Bolstered by fundraising efforts, there are four aspects addressed within the Resiliency Working Group: education, communication, social support, and appreciation. For education, the focus is to reduce the cognitive burden on shift through ensuring everyone knows how to properly manage COVID-19 patients and what resources are available to them. Communication initiatives have focused on improving the feedback loop to leadership, and dissemination of rapidly changing hospital protocols and the latest COVID-19 literature through Virtual Town Halls, surveys, and other COVID-19–focused meetings.

As we don’t see each other every day at work, and now more so during COVID-19, improving our social network in a safe, socially distant way became important and now even more so for our new interns. As such, Ashley Phillips, a stand-up comedian in her spare time, organized and led two Comic Relief Events. She gathered comics from the area and asked them to perform online to help raise money for the comedians themselves, the Resiliency Working Group, and its initiatives. The events were a huge success!

"People should know that we're listening."

- Catherine Staton, MD, MS, Vice Chief of Faculty Development, Emergency Medicine

What started with the leadership team donating funds to purchase appreciation dinners has morphed into the myriad of ways we show appreciation to our community: through a video to our intensivist, food to our Duke family who have had COVID-19, appreciation gifts  and patches to EMS, pins to physicians and nurses, lunch to our EVS crews for all they do, and endless educational sessions to our nurses, residents, and attendings.

The whole Duke EMS and EM family is serving the Durham community; the least the Resiliency Working Group can do is show our support and appreciation. As this pandemic continues, we have a long road ahead of us, but we have an amazing Duke EM family who is here to support all you do. “People should know that we are listening,” says Dr. Staton. Staying connected, heard, and feeling the gratitude that both Durham and your colleagues have for your hard work will be the light that guides us through this storm.


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