AdventHealth CMO Dr. Omayra Mansfield on creating joy amid COVID-19

Omayra Mansfield, MD, was having a particularly hard day amid the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Driving home from work, the despair overwhelmed her, so she paused and decided when she got home, she would create a moment of joy by jumping into her pool fully clothed to surprise her children.

Her husband captured the big splash on video.

"In the video is my daughter giggling like I had not heard her giggle in weeks, and certainly my own laugh at her response. Then the smile on her face and my son's response wanting to jump in," said Dr. Mansfield, vice president and CMO of AdventHealth Apopka (Fla.) and AdventHealth Winter Garden (Fla.), in a health system interview

"When I look back on this a year from now, what I want to remember about that particular day is not the despair I felt at work and driving home but the smile on my daughter's face and the laughter that filled the air," she added. "And that was really a moment in time where I felt like the trajectory as a family really did change, and we embraced what we were going to do to be positive."

Dr. Mansfield's passion for having and creating moments of joy is something she passes along to physicians at her hospitals to improve their mental health and well-being. 

She told Becker's Hospital Review she has always been concerned about physician well-being and mental health, but it's especially important during the pandemic as physicians see circumstances with patients that they may have never seen before.

"It became the perfect storm, and we needed something," she said. 

That something at her hospitals has included identifying "battle buddies," based on a concept from retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, DBA, who wrote a book about physician leadership based on his military experience and time at AdventHealth. The concept comes from the practice of drill sergeants pairing up new recruits. 

In healthcare, a person's buddy is "a person who will look out for you, and you will look out for them [in terms of well-being]. If something's on your mind, you have given them permission to call you out," said Dr. Mansfield.

As far as bringing moments of joy with intentionality, as she did in her pool, Dr. Mansfield said a serenity room in her hospitals creates an area outside their  walls where employees can decompress. 

Her hospitals also focus on gratitude. For example, executive leaders share what they are grateful for during meetings, and those items are posted on boards in the serenity room.

"I believe as an emergency medicine physician that we have two ways to look at our job. I could be cynical, or recognize every day I have a reminder we don't know how long life is, and ask, 'What am I doing with the time I'm given here?'" said Dr. Mansfield.

AdventHealth Apopka and AdventHealth Winter Garden gave leaders a book for journaling. They write down lessons learned in the book, which allows them to debrief. 

Dr. Mansfield said journaling also provides a way to prepare for situations like COVID-19.


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