Meet Sydnee from East Lake Clinic

Black mother looking fondly at her baby

The Trauma Healing Program at East Lake Clinic creates a healing environment by making changes to the clinic’s physical environment, hosting activities for patients, and integrating trauma-informed care principles into trainings and huddles. While part of the program is patient-facing, there is a staff-facing component of the program as well. The East Lake Clinic patient population faces challenges unlike other areas with higher-than-average levels of trauma, and for patients to heal, it is important for staff to heal too. Just like with physical activity, through trauma-informed care initiatives, the team provides the space, tools, and activities for staff to improve their well-being and ability to provide care and feel closer to coworkers.

Sydnee Alexander, RN East Lake ClinicSydnee Alexander is one of three registered nurses at East Lake Clinic and has been with the clinic for two years. Sydnee’s idea of self-care is biking or hiking and hanging out with her cat, Timothy.

In her own words, “I would like to start off by being a bit vulnerable here. Everyone has been through some form of trauma, and I am no exception to this. I came to Hennepin Healthcare in July of 2022 with trauma on my back from previous relationships, workplace distress, and negative experiences as a patient myself.

“I first learned about Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) on the second day of orientation, and I was immediately filled with motivation to learn more about this new concept to me and how I could incorporate the elements into my nursing practice. A few weeks into my time at East Lake Clinic (ELC), I learned that this family practice specifically had in motion a Trauma-Healing project led by some amazing and passionate individuals. I was invited into the Trauma-Healing Steering Committee about 6 months into working at ELC, where I could start giving ideas and making some of the initiatives happen.”

Sydnee is part of the learning and training subcommittee, planning activities and materials to integrate into trauma healing trainings at all-staff meetings on the impact of trauma, discussions around the values of trauma-informed care, and short activities at huddle, such as yoga breathing. She also presents trauma healing material for East Lake team members as well as for trauma healing trainings at other clinics, through the TIC champion model, providing trainings and presentations at other departments and for those interested in learning more and integrating trauma-informed principles and projects in other departments and clinics.

“Throughout my journey of being a part of the ELC team, I know for sure I have healed some of my own personal trauma. My workplace is full of team members who are compassionate and caring and dependable if I need their support, and they know they can count on me as well. We strive to make every patient feel heard, loved, and comfortable when coming into our clinic. Every time I witness a provider, MA, clerical staff, that uses Trauma-Healing techniques, it heals my past experience with being mistreated as a patient.”

“I am so grateful to be a part of developing and enhancing our Trauma-Healing program and continue to help heal the trauma in others and myself.”

If you are interested in trauma healing trainings and the TIC champion model, please contact Margit at [email protected]

Article on Trauma Healing Program Learning and Training:

Hennepin Healthcare’s East Lake Clinic expands trauma-informed care  | Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

Article on Trauma Healing Program Trauma-Responsive Screenings:

“No other place has cared for me as well as here” — how East Lake Clinic is addressing health disparities, one phone call at a time – Hennepin Healthcare

Additional Resources:

Trauma-Informed Care Resources | University Health

What is Trauma-Informed Care? – Trauma-Informed Care Implementation Resource Center (chcs.org)

What Is Trauma-Informed Care? | University Health