Ready to know more about San Diego?


Caring for Nurses in Times of Crisis

To support its nurses during the pandemic, Sharp launched “Stress First Aid.” The program is designed to help prevent the long-term, harmful effects of stress and provide resources for self-care.


As new surges of COVID-19 patients slammed hospitals and clinics across San Diego County last winter, nurses throughout Sharp HealthCare continued to be hailed as heroes. However, it became clear that these heroes were also hurting.

“Our teams had been under nonstop stress for almost a year and there wasn’t an end in sight,” says Alisha Carpenter, PhD, director of clinical programming at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. “It was getting harder for front-line workers to mask their fear, fatigue and frustration.”

In response, Dr. Carpenter and her Sharp Mesa Vista colleagues joined Sharp leaders in launching “Stress First Aid” to help protect Sharp’s team members from the long-term, harmful effects of stress.

Stress First Aid (SFA) is a collection of evidence-based resources designed to promote self-care, especially to those in high-risk, high stress occupations such as nursing.

At Sharp, the goals of SFA are to decrease stress and its effects; reduce the stigma often associated with mental health challenges; create a common language for nurses and other care providers to address stress; and recognize the relationship between their own well-being and that of their colleagues, patients and community.

Sharp’s SFA efforts were so successful they recently gained the attention of U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. Dr. Carpenter and Fadi Nicolas, MD, chief medical officer of Behavioral Health Services at Sharp, were asked to share the ways the program has improved the mental health of Sharp caregivers.

This includes online support groups centered on grief, loss, anger, depression and compassion fatigue; an internal webpage dedicated to mental health resources; and a hospital-based Sharp therapist who connects directly with the nurses.

“Our expert is there, right alongside the front-line workers, helping them process losses, upsets and stresses as they occur,” said Dara Schwartz, PsyD, clinical program developer at Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. “It’s a wonderful example of how our teams can support one another.”

Learn more here.



Share this post

Contact Us

1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800,

San Diego, CA