September 16, 2020

Clinician burnout was a public health epidemic before COVID-19. Now, there is a clinician mental health pandemic within the pandemic. Burnout involves a sense of ineffectiveness, presenteeism, overwhelming emotional exhaustion and depersonalization,1 and is associated with rising rates of anxiety, depression and suicide.2 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health notes that, while nurses and physicians overall have higher proportionate mortality rates from suicide than the general population, Black nurses and physicians experience higher rates than their White counterparts. Findings from a recent rapid systematic review and meta-analysis indicated that viral epidemics result in an almost 30% prevalence of acute stress disorder, anxiety, burnout and depression.3 As of June 2020, the prevalence of anxiety disorders in the U.S. had risen as high as three times those observed in Quarter 2 of 2019, while depression had risen fourfold. Essential workers experienced worse mental health outcomes than the general population.4

Burnout among clinicians not only adversely impacts their own health and well-being, but also threatens the quality and safety of healthcare. A recent national study of nearly 1,800 nurses from 19 healthcare systems across the U.S. showed that nurses in poor mental and physical health reported making more medical errors, with depression being their strongest predictor. Nurses who perceived that their organizations supported their well-being had better mental and physical health outcomes.5 Burnout also results in declines in patient satisfaction, absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover, which are very costly to the healthcare system.6

Healthcare system issues, including long shifts, inadequate patient-staffing ratios, problems with the electronic health record, high acuity patients and personal protective equipment shortages contribute to burnout. To improve clinician health and well-being outcomes, organizations must address system failures, invest in building and sustaining a wellness culture led by a chief wellness officer, and implement evidence-based interventions known to promote the mental health and well-being of their clinicians.

Although clinicians strive to take great care of others, they often do not prioritize their own self-care. As one out of two Americans have a chronic disease and 80% of chronic disease is preventable with healthy lifestyle behaviors,7 clinicians need to engage in regular physical activity, eat healthy, not smoke, limit alcohol if they drink, sleep at least seven hours a night and practice regular stress reduction strategies so that they can be in optimal health and well-being. These self-care behaviors and wellness cultures also need to be established in health sciences colleges to ensure a healthier generation of clinicians.

The Ohio State University is recognized as a national leader in this movement, promoting a sustained wellness culture through a comprehensive, multi-component approach that targets leaders, managers/supervisors, the grassroots and the system, led by a chief wellness officer. The University regularly tracks health and well-being outcomes of clinicians, faculty, staff and students that informs strategies to accomplish its wellness strategic plan. Evidence-based interventions such as Mindfulness in Motion, Health Athlete and MINDSTRONG are regularly offered to clinicians, and special partnerships promote health and well-being in areas including staying calm and well in the pandemic, wellness support for front-line nurses and aiding clinicians who experience or survive trauma. In fact, the University’s Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory group formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has prioritized the mental health and well-being of its population and, next month, Ohio State will host its second National Summit on Promoting Well-Being and Resilience in Healthcare Professionals with national leaders and practitioners sharing evidence and best practices to battle clinician burnout.

Other stakeholders listed below are sharing leadership to demand changes in practice, public policy and academic institutions that prioritize clinician and student well-being. We have been a sick care and crisis-oriented healthcare system for way too long; a paradigm shift must occur that emphasizes prevention and early intervention. With an emphasis on prevention, not only would the health and well-being of clinicians be enhanced, patient outcomes would improve and healthcare costs would decline.

How many more clinicians have to die from suicide because of rising depression associated with burnout? How many more medical errors, the third leading cause of death in America,8 will be made by outstanding, well-meaning clinicians suffering from burnout? How many more clinicians will the American healthcare system lose, which will continue to jeopardize the quality and safety of care because it does not invest in supporting their health and well-being? It is time to stop just describing and talking about the problem. Urgent action is needed!

June 11, 2020

The Ohio State University College of Nursing hosted Masterminds: The Future of Health Transformed. The virtual event featured three faculty members as they gave short, engaging TED-style talks about their passions and research in the nursing field.

Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, EBP-C, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, university chief wellness officer and College of Nursing dean, moderated the event.

Alice Teall, DNP, ARNP-CNP, FAANP, assistant professor of clinical nursing, discussed how enrolling in a coaching program and spending a week at a retreat in the Pacific Northwest changed her views on teaching and patient care.

“Before learning coaching strategies, I would have been the expert in solving problems,” Teall said. “Now, as the coach I recognize the student can develop the solutions.”

Molly McNett, PhD, RN, CNRN, FNCS, FAAN, professor of clinical nursing, explained the importance of the evidence-based practice movement. Her work at the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice helps to provide training and resources to healthcare teams across the world.

“We can no longer settle for the way that things have always been,” McNett said. “We are working to transform the future of healthcare to ensure that evidence informed care is used with all patients and all disease processes all the time.”

The third speaker, Shannon Gillespie, PhD, RN, assistant professor, shared that her journey to becoming a nurse started with a death in her family, which led to an interest in new life.

“I was probably moving away from that end of life that had become so real for my family for so long,” Gillespie said.

Now, she runs the Maternal Immune Monitoring Laboratory at the college, where she investigates possible causes of preterm birth and the effects of stress on pregnancy.

Interested in learning more? Watch our full recording and visit our website to learn more about how our college is committed to transforming the future of health.

March 13, 2020

The current situation with the coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, can be a source of stress and anxiety for you as well as your children. The most important thing that you can do to help your children through this uncertain time is to remain calm when you are with your children as your own level of anxiety will affect them. If your children sense you are anxious, they will be anxious as well. Reducing your own stress and anxiety so that you are less anxious will help your children to stay calm.

November 15, 2019
Honor recognizes college’s leadership in preventing heart disease and stroke

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention honored The Ohio State University College of Nursing with the 2019 Heart Healthy Stroke Free award to recognize the college’s exceptional leadership and collaboration to carry out the national Public Health Action Plan to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke.

The College of Nursing received this award at The National Forum’s 2019 annual meeting, Catalyst for Collaboration, on October 30 in Washington D.C. The meeting convened 100 thought leaders from more than 60 public, private and nonprofit organizations. Each year at the annual meeting, the National Forum recognizes individuals and organizations who have made exceptional contributions to heart disease and stroke prevention.

“Our college is deeply committed to preventing heart attacks and strokes at Ohio State, in our community and state, and throughout the nation,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “The partnership that we now have with more than 170 organizations, including universities, public health departments and community agencies who are using our free online Million Hearts® modules, has resulted in over 75,000 people across the U.S. being screened and educated on evidence-based strategies to prevent cardiovascular disease.”

The National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention focuses on implementing  strategies to prevent heart disease and stroke with a goal to eliminate cardiovascular health disparities and achieve health equity. The organization strives to lead and encourage collaborative action among stakeholders committed to heart disease and stroke prevention.

Ohio State and the National Forum recently partnered with the Ohio Mayors Alliance to champion heart health at the Buckeyes’ football game against Maryland on November 9 at Ohio Stadium. The effort included information sharing in the game program, on the scoreboard and on a new website supported by the Office of the Chief Wellness Officer with facts and resources to help people live healthier lives.

October 16, 2019
Insight Into Diversity honors college with HEED Award for fourth straight year

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Insight Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, honored The Ohio State University College of Nursing today with the 2019 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award to recognize the college’s outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the College of Nursing has been named as a Health Professions HEED Award recipient. It is the only award recognizing colleges and universities for outstanding diversity and inclusion efforts across their campuses.

“We embrace diversity in people and ideas as a core value and a cultural imperative so that we can champion the potential of our students, faculty and staff,” said Angela Alston, DNP, MPH, APRN, WHNP-BC, FNP-BC, chief diversity officer and assistant professor of clinical practice, and Rachel Choto, MSW, director of equity and inclusion at the College of Nursing. “We are making great strides in building inclusion into all areas of our college, and this award energizes us to reach for continued excellence.”

The college spotlighted several diversity and inclusion initiatives and accomplishments, including:

  • Its Summer Institute for Future Nurses program, which strives to increase the number of students in nursing from underrepresented populations and has hosted nearly 300 students since 2010
  • A 7% year-over-year increase in the graduation rate of Hispanic/Latinx students
  • Required annual unconscious/implicit bias training
  • “Barbers and Beauticians Who Care” and “Ask a Buckeye Nurse,” which provide health screenings in underserved communities in central Ohio
  • N-SPIRE, a student organization that raises public awareness of and provides education about healthcare inequities in underserved populations
  • Services to support student success, including clinical opportunities in diverse communities both locally and abroad

“I am so proud to be part of a college where people of all backgrounds can share diverse ideas, worldviews and experiences that can enrich our culture and all of our world-class programs and initiatives,” said Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “We are better able to dream, discover and deliver a healthier world together when we create an environment of respect, diversity and civility where anyone can thrive and achieve their highest potential.”

“The HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

The college and 42 other higher education recipients will be featured in the December 2019 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

October 09, 2019
C. Everett Koop Award recognizes outstanding worksite wellness programs

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University was honored with a national C. Everett Koop Award honorable mention for the breadth and effectiveness of its health and wellness initiatives.

The Koop Awards, which are granted by the Health Project, recognize worksite health promotion and improvement programs with documented results, both in effectiveness and economic impact. Criteria include improving population health by helping people change unhealthy behaviors and reducing health risks, establishing a culture of health and offering good value for the investment in these programs. Ohio State was one of only seven institutions nationally – and the only university – to earn an honorable mention award this year.

The Health Project is a not-for-profit corporation formed to bring about critical attitudinal and behavioral changes in addressing the health and well-being of Americans. Its mission is to seek out, evaluate, promote and disseminate the lessons learned from exemplary health promotion and disease prevention programs with demonstrated effectiveness in influencing personal health habits and cost-effective use of health care resources.

“This wonderful honor confirms that we are on the right track in promoting health and well-being across Buckeye Nation,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “We are building great momentum in our efforts to make Ohio State the healthiest campus in the world, and it starts with creating a wellness culture and incorporating evidence-based programs that get results.”

As the National Academy of Medicine highlighted in its groundbreaking case study released this summer about Ohio State’s efforts around well-being, Ohio State calculates a cumulative productivity net savings of more than $15 million from wellness programming, as well as a $3.65 return on investment for every dollar invested in wellness. Additional impacts include improvements in cardiovascular health; decreases in pre-diabetes, depression and anxiety; and increases in healthy lifestyle behaviors and academics among students, faculty and staff.

Melnyk and Megan Amaya, PhD, director of health promotion and wellness at the College of Nursing, accepted the award on Ohio State’s behalf at the 2019 HERO Forum hosted by the Health Enhancement Research Organization in Portland, Oregon.

September 26, 2019
New building scheduled for groundbreaking in spring 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University College of Nursing unveiled plans today for a new, 40,000-square-foot addition to its current home at Newton Hall. The addition, which will be built at the corner of Neil Avenue and West 9th Avenue, is scheduled to break ground in mid-to-late spring 2020.

“Over the last several years, our college has experienced unprecedented growth in the size of our population, the breadth of our initiatives and the stature of our academic programs,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “This addition will allow us to continue transforming the future of health by building dreams, discovering solutions and delivering impact for a healthier world.”

Over the past eight years, the college has:

The addition will house new space to support programs in academics, research, innovation, wellness and evidence-based practice. It will link to Newton Hall – the College of Nursing’s home since 1968 – via a three-story, glass-walled atrium. Other features include new office and special event space, a demonstration kitchen and a relaxation loft on the third floor.

The planned addition will also signify a first for the university: Newton Hall will become the first WELL-certified building on the Ohio State campus. The WELL v2 Building Standard, created and administered by the International WELL Building Institute, is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of a building’s environment that impact human health through air, water, nourishment, light, movement, sound, materials, mental health, thermal comfort, community and innovation.

“This addition will not only serve as a gateway to the health science campus for the university, but it will also become a destination for transdisciplinary collaboration and ideas to advance human health and well-being,” Melnyk said. “We are so excited about the unlimited potential of what we can accomplish together, supported by this new space.”

The addition was designed by signature design firm ikon.5 architects, ranked as the sixth-best design firm in the United States and winner of more than 75 national and international awards, in partnership with Architect of Record M+A Architects, known for their knowledge of and expertise in Ohio State University projects. The latest renderings and more information about the addition’s planned features can be found at

September 16, 2019
Grant supports the center’s primary care services to underserved populations

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded full “Federally-Qualified Health Center” status (FQHC) to The Ohio State University College of Nursing’s Total Health and Wellness, a nurse practitioner-led comprehensive primary care health center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center East Hospital.

The FQHC designation recognizes community-based healthcare providers who deliver primary care services in underserved populations. Total Health and Wellness is one of only 77 health centers in the country – out of approximately 700 applications – to receive this status this year. FQHCs are supported by federal HRSA Health Center Program grants, which come through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, aimed at expanding access of affordable, quality primary care to vulnerable areas.

HRSA awarded more than $50 million in New Access Point grants in this cycle, including $650,000 in grant support this year for Total Health and Wellness.

“This accomplishment does not happen without the dedication and passion of our interprofessional team of healthcare providers,” said Candy Rinehart, DNP, APRN-CNP, FAANP, CEO of the Total Health and Wellness practice. “Our patients count on us to provide them and their families with high-quality, compassionate care, and our team delivers great care daily.”

“Nurse practitioner-led practices are vital parts of our healthcare system that produce great population health outcomes,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “We are so excited about this new status and the support that comes with it that will help us continue to further expand our terrific healthcare services to help even more families in the East side community live healthier lives.”

Total Health and Wellness opened in 2012 with a vision to expand primary care and treatment of chronic conditions to the Near East Side of Columbus. The care team includes family nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, mental health counselors, pharmacists, dietitians, and community health workers, as well as nursing and other health science students. Services range from family practice and chronic condition management (i.e. diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease) to physical exams, women’s health services (including prenatal care) and mental health programs. Its governing board includes patients and community members.

For more information visit the Total Health and Wellness website or call 614-685-9994.

July 31, 2019

Many of the 20 million new students starting college this fall will have to manage their health and well-being on their own for the first time. As families review materials related to classes, meals and housing, The Ohio State University Chief Wellness Officer and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have created a wellness checklist to help students develop a plan to maintain their well-being.

May 30, 2019
Recognition earned for impactful cognitive-behavioral skills building program

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The American Academy of Nursing (AAN) has honored Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN as an Academy Edge Runner designee for her successful cognitive-behavioral skills building intervention programs. This is the third Edge Runner honor for Melnyk.

Melnyk, who serves as vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, and dean of the College of Nursing at The Ohio State University, created her programs to improve both mental and physical health outcomes in children, adolescents and college students through early intervention strategies. Research shows that one in every four children, teenagers and college-aged youth suffers from a mental health disorder, yet fewer than a quarter of them receive any treatment. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in 10- to 34-year-olds.

“Although the numerous studies that I have conducted across more than two decades have shown that my cognitive-behavioral skills building programs are effective in treating depression and anxiety,” said Melnyk, “my dream is that these programs are heavily used in schools, community settings and universities across the U.S. and the globe as a preventive intervention strategy to curb the rapidly-escalating and high prevalence of mental health problems and suicide in children and youth.”

More than 12,000 children and youth of all backgrounds have benefitted in 44 states and five countries that have implemented Melnyk’s program. Outcomes include lower rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal intent, higher levels of healthy lifestyle behaviors and improvement in academic outcomes.

The AAN stated that the Academy Edge Runner honor recognizes “nurse innovators who have charted a new course and ushered in remarkable improvement to major healthcare challenges at every level … Melnyk’s program is transforming the way students think about their own mental health while learning lifelong strategies for healthy living.”

Melnyk’s cognitive-behavioral skills building intervention is the basis for the College of Nursing’s MINDSTRONG program, a seven-week, evidence-based intervention with a goal of reducing stress and improving resiliency and self-protective factors for overall well-being. MINDSTRONG is being rolled out to students at Ohio State and will soon be made available for faculty, staff and their families.