New app promotes gratitude among staff working in ICUs

New app promotes gratitude among staff working in ICUs

Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.Nov 3 2020

A study by researchers Carmen Soler and Marisa Salanova from the WANT team – Psychosocial Prevention and Healthy Organizations at the Universitat Jaume I in Castelló and Isabella Meneghel from the International University of Catalonia in collaboration with the Fundación Hospital Optimista (Optimistic Hospital Foundation) has shown an increase in the performance levels and sense of well-being of staff working in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) of four Spanish hospitals after using a program that facilitates thanking colleagues through a mobile phone app.

The project "Gratitud: impacto en el bienestar y desempeño"[Gratitude: impact on well-being and performance], which began in October 2019, has involved 84 professionals from the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Córdoba, Montilla (Córdoba); Rey Juan Carlos Hospital (Madrid) and Santa Bárbara Hospital (Ciudad Real).

It is part of the actions carried out in the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness project (PSI2015-64933-R) and included the active participation of the OptimisticHospital Foundation in the development of the app that promotes gratitude together with its technological partner Feedbalia.

As well as a quantitative measurement of the levels of performance and quality of service that have made it possible to verify an increase in commitment and well-being of the participants, the study has included a qualitative analysis that revealed that the professionals felt how the working environment improved at the ICU and that it helped grasp the awareness of their own strengths and of the work and day-to-day acts of kindness with the rest of the group. The benefits also extended in time, as can be seen from the tests performed weeks later.

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The investigation included experimental and control (waiting list) groups and three assessments have been conducted (one prior to the study, one immediately after to learn the changes in the levels of happiness, well-being remembered and felt, optimism and scale of performance, and a third three weeks after the intervention to assess the effects of the study in time.

The duration has been of four months in total (with three weeks of intervention and three more with follow-ups) for both groups.

Every day, for four weeks, the professionals at the participating ICUs have thought about actions carried out by their co-workers that could be linked to one of the 24 strengths proposed by Seligman and Peterson (passion to learn, generosity, curiosity, humbleness, etc.) and which would have caused in them a sense of gratitude, and they have been able to show their gratitude through the mobile phone app.

Despite healthcare workers feeling the support of citizens during the first months of the pandemic, the stsupport

Once the efficiency of the tool and the impact of gratitude on variables such as well-being, performance, commitment, and quality of service were verified, the Fundación Hospital Optimista, the WANT team, and Feedbalia have made the app available for free for the entities that took part in the VI edition of the Hospital Optimista awards, in order to continue promoting the culture of gratitude instead of the culture of complaining.


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