Beginning in 2018, Josh’s Fund expanded its mission of career development for nurses to include support for resiliency enabling the establishment of The Josh Gottheil Memorial Endowment for the Promotion of Resiliency 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 at Barnes Hospital and it was the nurses who cared for him there that inspired Josh’s Fund to be dedicated to support for oncology nurses.
In 2021, Josh’s Fund established a second endowment for the Josh Gottheil Memorial Nurse Resiliency Fund at Carle Health in Urbana, IL. Josh was born at Carle Hospital and Carle Health serves the wider community in which he grew up and had spent his fulfilling but too short life.
Resiliency support could not have come at a better time. The pandemic that began in 2020 brought attention to the added stress on the entire medical system, leading to burnout, fatigue and early retirement of many nurses and other health care professionals. The vast majority, however, carried on and their dedication and professionalism was never more evident.
Siteman Cancer Center
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:
- Addressing 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
On May 20, 2019, Siteman Cancer Center hosted the first Josh Gottheil Memorial Symposium with a diverse program that included keynote speaker Eileen McDargh, CEO of The Resiliency Group, and was attended by well over one-hundred nurses and their fellow-health care providers. Honored attendees included two of the BMT nurses that had cared for Josh at Barnes Hospital in 1988-89 whose loving care and professionalism inspired Josh’s Fund to dedicate its support to their colleagues across the world. At the reception that preceded the program, two of the attendees spoke of having been students of the late Professor Fred Gottheil, founder and leading light of Josh’s Fund. The circle of life expands…
Following the symposium, Christi Longnecker, Siteman’s vice president of oncology services, who in her professional experience has worked with patients in bone marrow and stem cell transplant units, wrote:
“…I cannot stress enough how very meaningful this gift and the establishment of this resiliency program has been to our caregivers at Siteman. We continue to hear from the symposium attendees just how touched they were that you and the board were motivated to make a gift to support their mental and emotional well-being… Josh’s spirit and your generosity will continue to inspire the compassion and care given to each of our child, adolescent and adult patients every single day.”
In both September 2020 and January 2022, the Josh Gottheil Memorial Resiliency Symposium was held virtually and the symposium returned to an in-person format at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center on May 23, 2023. Throughout the rest of the year 2023 the event is available to view here:
In an article entitled Caring for those Who Care for Us, an endowment created by the Josh Gottheil Memorial Fund for nurses at Carle Health was announced in the 2021 Charitable Giving Annual Report of the Carle Center for Philanthropy.
The endowment has enabled the creation of the the Josh Gottheil Nurse Resiliency Fund and with support of the fund, plans are developing for a Carle Caring Crew, a team member initiative focused on supporting caregiver/nurse wellbeing throughout the hospital and clinic setting. The goal is to create an environment to support healing and relaxation in times of need for nurses and caregivers, to further to assist in preventing burnout and to provide relief to those experiencing compassion fatigue on the floors.
Further programing includes a Nurse Well Being event scheduled for November 17, 2023. Under the leadership of Elizabeth Angelo, Chief Nursing Officer and President of Carle Foundation Hospital.