55 Word Stories

Sharing our experiences in health care, especially during intense, emotional, or stressful times increases our connectedness and well-being.

Read stories from other members of our UW Medicine community on how COVID-19 has impacted them, and submit one of your own.

April 10th Town Hall

Please join us for this week’s town hall at 3pm on Friday. Past recordings are farther down on this page.


Future UW Medicine town halls will take place every Friday at 3pm. You may submit your questions in advance.


We are committed to providing support for you and your family during this time with COVID-19. We want to acknowledge the stress, fear, anxiety and other complex emotions that come with the work we do at the front lines of caring amidst an unknown, ambiguous and evolving landscape. Thank you all for the unprecedented collaboration and creativity you are showing as we develop ways to best support our patients, community and each other in the face of COVID-19.

Below are several ongoing efforts to provide support to our healthcare teams and their families during these challenging times. You may also find daily updates on the UW Medicine Huddle website. For updates specific to residents and fellows, please visit the GME website.


Child Care

Health care workers at UW Medicine clinical sites who need child care should call the Child Care Aware COVID Referral Center. The call center can serve callers Monday through Friday between 8:30-4:30 and in their home language. The Referral Center will connect families directly to vacant child care slots in the community, including those available only to UW employees. Here’s how the process works: 

  • Call 1-800-446-1114
  • Press “1” to request child care.
  • Press “1” to indicate you are a healthcare worker/first responder.
  • Tell the operator you work at a UW Medicine clinical site.

Additionally, there are continuing offers for child care and other services as needed on UW Medicine’s Care and Share site.

Psychiatry Support

During this time of increased stress and anxiety, the UW Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is available to provide UW Medicine staff and faculty with free, informal, telephone or video-based conversations with one of our more than 50 volunteer clinician colleagues.

The team is available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm to facilitate scheduling but conversations can occur outside these hours. Requests for support can be made online via the COVID Support Request Survey or by leaving a confidential voice mail message at 206.221.2768.

Peer Support for Partners and Spouses

We know this is a challenging time for the families of our healthcare workers. Partners and spouses of our UW Medicine members are invited to join our next Zoom peer support drop-in session to talk through your questions and concerns.

Tuesday, April 7th from 1 – 2pm


Please submit questions in advance here. 

We recorded the previous session and you can view it here.

Coping with Uncertainty and Anxiety

Here are several helpful pieces with tangible advice on how to manage your anxiety and uncertainty during this time.


On Friday, April 10th from 1 – 1:45 pm Kevin Alschuler, PhD (Rehabilitation Medicine and Neurology), will present “Coping with uncertainty and leveraging resilience during COVID-19” to the UW Medicine Community.  This will include 15-20 minutes of presentation of information on the challenge of COVID-19, the challenge of uncertainty, and how to build and use resilience to cope in the best ways possible in the face of this challenge.  The session will conclude with time for question and answer. Join by Zoom https://gbhi.zoom.us/j/151645112.

Psychologist, New York Times columnist, and best-selling author Dr. Lisa Damour provides specific dos and don’ts of coping with stress and anxiety in this helpful handout.

Harvard Business Review explains why That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief.

FACE COVID: How to respond effectively to the corona crisis by Dr. Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap.

Practice these skills on better managing your energy and attention to maximize your resilience and performance.

A brochure on building your responder personal resilience plan.

Free smartphone apps that promote mental well-being: 

  • Mindfulness Coach
  • Virtual HopeBox
  • CBT-I Coach
  • My3

Support Resources

We have provided additional resources for you, your loved ones, and your colleagues below.

TOWN HALLS // virtual gatherings to receive updates from leadership and ask questions

We want to provide access for folks on the front lines to share their concerns and needs regarding their health and well-being with our leadership.  Please check your local medical center or practice location communications for updates in local town halls throughout the week.

Future UW Medicine town halls will take place every Friday at 3pm by Zoom webinar: https://uw-phi.zoom.us/j/887116941

Please submit your questions in advance so we can address frequently voiced questions and concerns.

Recordings of past town halls are listed below: 

4/3 town hall
3/27 town hall
3/20 town hall
3/13 town hall

UW MEDICINE WELL-BEING MESSAGES // updates for all UW Medicine team members

24/7 SUPPORT // contacts for emergent needs and staff support

For emergent mental health concerns for a colleague, encourage the employee or escort to the Emergency Department (per regular practice).

For counseling or critical incident response, use the CareLink Call Line 24/7 @ 866-598-3978.

Managers/Supervisors can page the Social Work Administrator on call through the paging operator for any emergent needs and links to resources, or page Marie Cockerham 206-405-9249 for urgent staff support need consult/mobilization of resources.

UW Medical Center, Montlake only: Contact Spiritual Care On-Call 24/7 @ 206-559-6764 (text) 206-598-9174 (voicemail)  or through the paging operator.

UW CARELINK // immediate help for providers and family members, including free counseling

For providers and family members who would like immediate help, please contact our Faculty and Staff Assistance Program CareLink which provides consultation and triage support.

Call 866-598-3978 to get FREE counseling or set up a Critical Incident Counselor for your area (available within 24 hours).

  1. When you call ask CareLink to set up in person or over phone counseling at the date/time that works for you
  2. If a person gives a verbal ok to have CareLink call them, contact Marie Cockerham marie678@uw.edu to initiate

CHILD + ELDER CARE // details and organizations to secure backup care for your family

If you’re interested in accessing child care from a UW student or by friends or family of UW employees, complete this request form.

Human Resources has created a webpage with several child care supports.

Seattle school district is opening childcare, with a focus on healthcare workers. A community-created list of Washington State COVID-19 response resources for childcare and many other needs can be found here.

UW Medicine Care & Share Website

  • This website is a newly developed interactive platform that allows members of the entire UW Medicine community to connect with people offering support (child care, carpooling, pet care, etc.).

Bright Horizons Backup Care

  • Employees must pre-register before requesting care for their child.
  • Offers care both in-center and in-home.  In-home care can serve children who are sick and is available 24-7.
  • In-center care costs $20 per child and $35 per family. In-home care costs $32 per 24 hours, then $8 per additional hour.
  • Employees receive 5 uses per year from Bright Horizons. This may be stacked with KinderCare for 15 total backup annual uses.
  • Find their COVID-19 protocol here.

KinderCare Backup Care

  • Employees must pre-register before requesting care for their child.
  • Offers in-center care only. In-center care costs $20 per child per day.
  • Employees receive 10 uses per year through KinderCare. This may be stacked with Bright Horizons for 15 total backup annual uses.

Short Term Elder Care

  • The Back-Up Advantage Program provides backup care for your adult relative when regular arrangements fall through unexpectedly. The caregiver comes to your home.

UW CareLink is available 24/7 and provides a child care referral service that provides employees with a list of caregivers.

The Whole U Discount Partners includes On Call Nanny Service and Annie’s Nannies.

Two publicly available services that coordinate caregiving are care.com and sittercity.com. Please note these two resources are outside of the University of Washington and are not formally endorsed by the University of Washington.

HOME EDUCATION // curriculum and community resources for school closures

Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine has a myriad of tips and resources for multiple subject areas of online learning.

UW’s Parent Map website has many resources and tools listed for helping parents with homeschooling.

As school closures increase, some communities are creating groups to collaborate on solutions. The “Seattle Help for Parents & Caregivers During Covid-19 Outbreak” Facebook group was created to establish a forum for parents, nannies, and caregivers in need of help during the Covid-19 outbreak to connect with other parents, help and resources. Check if your school or class has an organized support structure with similar shared resources.

PHYSICAL WELLNESS // free online yoga and fitness videos

WELL-BEING AND MINDFULNESS // webinars and resources to promote your own well-being

Fortify your skill set to cope with the challenges ahead: Dr. Tony Bach (Oncology) and Larisa Benson offer “Preparing Ourselves for the Next Wave”. This 30 minute session introduces mindfulness practices you can use on the fly and creates space to address your concerns.

Headspace meditation app is now available for free to all healthcare professionals. Register with your NPI number.

The Faculty Factory podcast has a brief guided meditation for a few minutes of calm. Neda Gould, PhD also provides tips for dealing with uncertainty in uncertain times.

Here are tips for taking care of yourself and your family members during the coronavirus outbreak. And here are five ways to help during the coronavirus.

UW Medical Center Northwest and Montlake campuses offer drop-in mindfulness sessions. Details for each are below.

Creative mindfulness drop-ins:

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3PM
Via Zoom-
click here
Meeting ID-303 595 162

  • New session offered every 15 minutes
  • Contact Elyse Fairweather, Spiritual Care Provider-Palliative Care Specialist,  efairwea@uw.edu with any questions
  • Open to all UW Medicine entities

Several webinars are listed below. These 5-10 minute self care sessions can be beneficial as a friendly pick-me-up, or to provide ways of reframing our thinking.

Connecting Mind & Body for Healthy Living
Physical things you do with your body can affect the way you feel mentally. Thoughts going through your mind can affect the way you feel physically. In this module, you will learn ways to harness this mind-body connection to improve many aspects of your life.

Laughter, Humor & Play To Reduce Stress & Solve Problems
You don’t have to be a professional comedian to use humor to lower stress levels. This training offers practical ways to incorporate humor and play into everyday situations.

Learning To Relax
The training will allow you to learn and experience several simple relaxation tools such as progressive muscle relaxation, abdominal relaxation, breathing and visualization.

SPIRITUAL CARE // on-site support for Seattle-area UW Medicine team members

UW Medical Center, Northwest

1:1 support 24/7   (i.e. moral distress, secondary trauma, grief, existential /spiritual distress and overwhelm, resilience and grounding practices)

Tea for the Soul/Drop In Debriefs

Reflection Space: D-Wing (1 person at a time)

Contact Info:  24/7 on-call # 206-598-1112;  Link to Spiritual Care and Wellbeing intranet site


Harborview Medical Center

Harborview Medical Center Managers/Charges please reach out to Jill Rasmussen-Baker if your unit/department has urgent needs 744-5768 jlrb@uw.edu

  • Please contact spiritual care for any urgent staff needs. 206-989-4946 (pager; can send text message to this number) 206-744-3155 (leaving voicemail will page Spiritual Care Provider), or through paging operator (206-744-3000)
  • Spiritual Care is actively rounding on day and evening shifts.  Staff Care is a priority for Spiritual Care.


UW Medical Center, Montlake

UW Medical Center Managers/Charges please reach out to Mia Baumgartner if your floor/department has urgent needs or should be listed as a priority 598-1112 mbaumgar@uw.edu

Please page spiritual care for any urgent staff needs. 206-559-6764 (text) 206-598-9174 (voicemail),  or through paging operator.  Spiritual Care is actively rounding on day and evening shifts.  Staff Care is a priority for Spiritual Care.

Oncology floors

  • (7SE, 7NE, 8NE, 8SA): SCCA Spiritual Health provider can be paged directly during Weekday
    • MONDAY: 206.626.4555
    • TUES-FRIDAY:  206.541-8379.
    • EVE/WEEKEND: Page 206-559-6764 (text)

1:1 support (in person or phone) 24/7   (i.e. moral distress, secondary trauma, grief, existential /spiritual distress and overwhelm, resilience and grounding practices)  See contact info below.

Tea for the Soul/Drop In Debriefs:  see contact information below to arrange. Conducted in partnership with Palliative Care Social Work Staff

Reflection Space:  3rd floor skybridge

Quiet Room:  4SE (4109) near cascade elevators

Contact Info:  24/7 on-call # 206-598-9174;  Link to Spiritual Care and Wellbeing intranet site

SUPPORT FRONTLINE CAREGIVERS // consider donating a gift to care for our caregivers

In this moment of tremendous community need, we are grateful for your caring support of the UW Medicine Emergency Response Fund. Gifts are urgently needed to ramp up COVID-19 testing, provide care for the most vulnerable, coordinate the state’s emergency response, support research, and provide lifesaving equipment and resources to ensure the health and well-being of our patients and clinical teams. Make your gift today.