May 19, 2020

Videos, additional resources designed to share strategies and approaches for clinicians in distress

Clinicians in Distress: Social Worker and Staff Nurse video thumbnail

Faculty and staff at The Ohio State University College of Nursing have produced a new series of videos that spotlight scenarios, strategies and approaches for addressing healthcare clinicians who may be in distress and thinking of harming themselves.

The video series is paired with an online library of resources aimed at providing education and information around symptoms of clinician burnout, including depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Clinician burnout and its affiliated symptoms can carry consequences from reduced job performance and high turnover rates to medical errors and suicide. The United Nations and World Health Organization both recently addressed the growing impact of the pandemic on mental health and highlighted healthcare workers specifically as a vulnerable population.

“Our heroes on the front lines of healthcare are resilient and brave, but that does not mean they are impervious to the mental health toll of the pandemic,” said Sharon Tucker, PhD, APRN-CNS, EBP-C, FNAP, FAAN, Grayce Sills Endowed Professor in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing and director of the DNP Nurse Executive Track at the College of Nursing. “Our team created this online resource featuring ten video scenarios to demonstrate some key elements in how to approach and talk with someone in distress. We are hopeful that colleagues across the healthcare spectrum will find benefit and value in this important work.”

According to the College of Nursing’s “Clinicians in Distress” website, “the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for resources to support clinician wellness. Professional organizations across the country are collaborating in response to the urgent need, including the American Nurses Association (ANA).”

“Clinician burnout was a growing public health epidemic before anyone had heard of COVID-19,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, EBP-C, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “Mental and emotional well-being in our front-line clinicians must be top priority for healthcare systems; it is imperative that we both provide resources such as this video series and evidence-based programming to help healthcare professionals now and invest in support systems that prioritize their well-being in the future.”

The website housing the video series and other resources can be found at

September 27, 2017

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, has been awarded a $3.3 million, 4.5-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIH/NIMHD) for a study entitled, “Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for High-Risk Minority Pregnant Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Melnyk is vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, dean and professor of the College of Nursing, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry in the College of Medicine and executive director of the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for EBP at The Ohio State University. Co-PI Susan Gennaro, PhD, RN, FAAN, is dean and professor of the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College.


Citing the public health mandate issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to decrease disparities in birth outcomes based on race and ethnicity, the study proposes to test a cognitive behavioral skills building (CBSB) prenatal care intervention for pregnant minority women experiencing emotional distress. If successful, it could be widely scaled to improve pregnancy, birth and post-natal outcomes nationally. The randomized, controlled trial (RCT) will test the efficacy of a CBSB health promotion intervention adapted from Melnyk’s other evidence-based CBSB interventions.


Melnyk emphasizes that “while screening for depression in all pregnant women is a recent public health directive, screening alone without scalable, evidence-based interventions to improve mental health will not produce positive outcomes. Given the well-established link between emotional distress, poor health and birth outcomes and the prevalence of emotional distress in minority women, prenatal care interventions designed to improve mental and physical health outcomes for these women are vital.”


The RCT, to be conducted in New York and Ohio, will extend Melnyk’s research on cognitive behavioral interventions to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors, physical health and psychosocial wellness and Gennaro’s research on the consequences of stress and health behaviors in pregnant minority women. It will be the first clinical trial to test a CBSB health promotion intervention embedded into prenatal care for emotionally distressed minority pregnant women.