Building Resiliency

The Josh Gottheil Memorial Endowment for the Promotion of Resiliency was established in 2018 at the Siteman Cancer Center/Barnes-Jewish Hospital of Washington University in St. Louis Mo. Josh was a patient in the bone marrow transplant unit and it was the nurses that cared for him there that inspired Josh’s Fund to be dedicated to support for oncology nurses. Under the direction of the Vice President for Oncology Services, this endowment sponsors symposia and other programs to teach nurses and other health care professionals and families proven methods for maintaining good mental and emotional health so they may continue caring for patients with empathy and understanding.

Resiliency training topics include:

  • Compassion fatigue and lowering the effects of stress and burnout
  • Providing ongoing support to staff members, recognizing signs of struggling, and using tools to manage everyday challenges
  • Using storytelling to strengthen resiliency, energize one’s brain and create a sense of belonging and connectedness
  • Writing letters of gratitude, learning to give oneself credit for handling adversity, and identifying ways to reduce negativity

Christi Longnecker, Siteman’s vice president of oncology services and a registered nurse, said caring for the sick, while one of the most rewarding endeavors, can take a toll emotionally. “You get to know and care for your patients, which isn’t something you shut off at the end of your shift,” she said. “With this generous gift, Josh will be remembered, and nurses will receive important support when it’s needed, so they may continue giving their patients the compassionate care they deserve.”