AUGUSTA — OMNE Nursing Leaders of Maine will hold its annual leadership summit from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Augusta Civic Center.

The theme of this year’s summit is “Put People First: Leading in the Age of Compassion Fatigue.”

Compassion fatigue is described as what nurses, professional caregivers and first responders experience when they’re too tired, too sad and too stressed to feel normal compassion for their patients. It’s also known as secondary traumatic stress and is characterized by a gradual lessening of compassion over time.

Nurse leaders from across the state will discuss best practices for promoting excellence in patient care and nursing practice. As health care providers in Maine continue to grapple with the costs of health care and the increasing demand of caring for a growing aging population, nurses must lead by example with innovation, agility and expertise to ensure the highest standard of care is being achieved.

Keynote speaker will be Matt Whiat, currently a partner at the Barry-Wehmiller Leadership Institute and director of outreach at the Start With Why movement. He draws from his 20 years of leadership experience as a U.S. Air Force officer helping organizations create cultures that put people first.

Presentations by local, state and national experts will:

• Explore issues challenging nursing in Maine;

• Develop staff at the front line to be able to provide exceptional care and continuously improve quality of care;

• Learn best practice for patient safety, quality outcomes, nurse satisfaction, as well as innovations in nursing excellence; and

• Focus discussion on compassion fatigue and introduce tools to help alleviate it.

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