Southern New Hampshire Health Expands Peer Support Program!


Since August 2018, Foundation Medical Partners has provided emotional support to more than 20% of its physicians through its Provider Support Program. That program has now expanded.

The new Peer Support Program is open to any nurse or provider at Southern New Hampshire Health. 

Linda Williams, MD, Foundation Director of Provider Relations, shares a quote from Rachel Remen an author and teacher of alternative medicine in the form of integrative medicine:

The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting us to walk through water without getting wet.

“This quote is so on point,” says Dr. Williams. “Everything adds up, and COVID-19 has not helped. So, although the Peer to Peer Program was not a COVID-19 initiative, the priority is even more in the face of COVID-19.”

Rori Dawes, Assistant Director of Quality and Process Improvement at Southern New Hampshire Health, adds, “It was really something we wanted to return to the front burner as soon as we could because we knew a lot of staff are really stressed out. Aside from the regular pressures of being in health care, the pandemic added a whole other layer of stress with rapidly changing protocols at work while balancing new challenges at home.”

The Peer Support Program is made up of 17 peer supporters, who range from physicians, to nurses, to other qualified licensed practitioners. Nurses and providers can reach out directly to and within 48 to 72 hours a peer supporter will be in contact. The program is confidential.

“I want our colleagues to be brave enough to reach out and to not be afraid of this program, because really there is no judgement involved. This is simply for support,” Dr. Williams says.

Leaders hope to expand the program further in the future to include anyone who works in direct patient care.

“This program is another extension of caring for people. Now we’re just caring for our colleagues. The impact you can have if you help a colleague is immense. You’re not just helping one person, you’re helping everyone else they see that day or the next day,” Dr. Williams explains.