Millions of Americans spend nearly half of their waking hours in the workplace. And that’s especially true in the healthcare field, where work hours can extend well beyond the 40-hour workweek. So, it’s spectacularly important to support our nurses by improving the work environment. Right now, nurse satisfaction is lacking in far too many facilities across the nation. And nurse dissatisfaction and burnout is leading to poor nurse retention for healthcare facilities. According to a study performed by Linda Aiken, PhD, RN (Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, U of Penn.), some 40 percent of nurses feel as though they’re burnt out on the job. Beyond that, patient satisfaction is at a low, and only one in five hospitals currently have supportive environments for nurses. Those are staggering statistics, and they’re precisely the statistics that we’re trying to reverse here at SelfCare for HealthCare™; it’s obvious that a paradigm shift is necessary. Today, we’re addressing that latter statistic, the nursing environment. Let’s delve into a few changes that all healthcare facilities can make to improve the caretaking environment in order to improve both their patients’ experiences, as well as their nurses’ experiences.
It’s crucial to build a positive attitude amongst your coworkers. Nursing is a highly collaborative environment. We work long hours together, and we work in close quarters. It’s important to nurture a healthy culture amongst your caretaking staff. After all, we often share our personal lives, as well as our professional space. And that’s OK. It’s beneficial to befriend those that we work with. So encourage a positive attitude amongst your team members. Host voluntary out-of-work events to encourage your nurses to connect with their other employees (make sure their voluntary, since you’ll also need to promote a work-life balance).
You can also instill team spirit by promoting team goals. You’ll foster unity amongst your nursing staff. Be sure that praise is part of everyone’s day-to-day. Give congratulations for a job well done, and recognize accomplishment.
Your work environment should be comfortable, positive, and welcoming. So next time you’re in the “office,” take a look around you. Is it clean? Is it well-lit? Are there plants that brighten your space? Do you have sofas to rest on during breaks? How about other amenities? A coffee pot and free tea can go a long way to keep your nurses content. You may even want to have a free snack drawer. Throw a few games in the break room too, and keep a shelf of magazines and books. Encourage your employees to make their workspace a bit of their own too. Even a cubby or locker can help your nurses to feel as though they have a private space while they’re at work.
Encourage a Work-Life Balance
As we mentioned, a work-life balance is crucial. If you have staff members who are complete workaholics, it’s important to ensure that they have a healthy work-life balance. Encourage your nurses to have a personal life, and make sure that they go home, rest, exercise, socialize, and reenergize. Otherwise, your nurses will burn out!
Michael Poh mentions, in his article entitled 5 Characteristics of A Positive Work Environment, that “When employees fulfill their various needs and goals in life, such as those of family, friends, spiritual pursuits, self-growth, etc, they can then feel more confident about themselves and perform their best at work.”
Take note that, while caretaking is important, it’s just as important to care for yourself. Too often, nurses neglect to care for themselves outside of the workplace, and that means an unbalanced work-to-life ratio. Over time, nurses can get stressed and overwhelmed with their work, and without reprieve from normal stressors, your caretakers can burn out quickly.
The SelfCare for HealthCare Program
Burnout in the field of nursing is a reversible problem. That’s a message we stand behind here at SelfCare for HealthCare, and that’s the idea we promote with our SelfCare for HealthCare program. We promote physical, mental, and spiritual health for nurses and caretakers, and we strive to reduce problems like nurse burnout, poor nurse retention, and difficulty recruiting new nursing talent. We work with healthcare facilities and leadership to improve their work environment and their care support for their nursing staff. Our year-long program is aimed at improving the physical and fiscal health of healthcare organizations through motivational speaking, education, and other tools. Get started today!