With close to 1 million licensed beds in over 6,000 hospitals and over 33 million admissions per year, it’s obvious that many families and individuals rely on hospitals to take care of their loved ones. In order to ensure those loved ones are properly taken care of, facility managers and healthcare administrators need to keep their facilities running smoothly, which means nurturing a positive work environment for nurses. By prioritizing nurse satisfaction and morale, hospitals can enhance productivity, retention, and ultimately, patient outcomes. 

Understanding the Challenges 

Risks facility staff face when trying to create a Positive Work Environment for Nurses

The risks of being a healthcare worker are well-documented. Whether people work in the emergency room or an ICU unit, the difficulties can be similar.

Risks to health staff can be divided into two categories: physical and mental or emotional. Some of the specific risks include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Psychological trauma
  • PTSD symptoms
  • Physical hazards
  • Exposure to disease
  • Back injuries
  • Burnout
  • Workplace violence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study from 2018 to 2022 that revealed healthcare employees experienced more symptoms of diminished mental health due to the negative environment in which they worked compared to other employee groups.

Additionally, burnout among health staff was 46% in 2022, whereas in 2018, it was only 32%. This and the other factors above increased the risk of anxiety and personal harm for employees in the health field.

Addressing Employee Churn

When the staff is feeling fatigue and mental distress, there is a high probability that they may resign, leading to increased employee churn. No facility manager or healthcare administrator wants to deal with employee churn because as more healthcare workers depart, their place must be filled immediately or patient care will be compromised.

Reducing employee churn is a top goal of those in charge of hospitals. A high turnover rate not only compromises patient care and safety but also is time-consuming, costly, and impacts the well-being of your current staff. The process of hiring new employees to fill the gap is multifaceted. Some of the elements involved in bringing new employees on board include:

Strategies to Foster a Positive Work Environment for Nurses 

With so much involved in bringing on new employees, preventing burnout and boosting employee morale by creating a positive work environment for nurses is vital. Some methods that management can implement to achieve this goal include the following:

  • Encourage work-life balance. One common complaint among healthcare workers is that there is not enough downtime for family and relaxation. Management must make sure employees have quality time with loved ones.

    More employees can get the work-life balance they need when your facility integrates Medely to help build and manage your entire extended workforce. Add skilled nurses and allied health professionals to your workforce and stop relying on expensive overtime and over priced agencies. Learn more here
  • Get employees’ opinions. Soliciting feedback from employees can provide valuable information about how they are feeling.
  • Provide continuous education. It’s vital that health professionals feel that they are moving forward in their professional lives. This can be accomplished through training opportunities as new methods and technologies become available.
  • Ensure a positive manager-worker relationship exists. Employees are happiest when harmony exists among all levels of the hierarchy. Be sure to check in with your team and make sure they are not experiencing burnout. If they are, see how you can help.
  • Weed out negativity. Management must keep an eye and ear open for any negative influences in the workplace, being aware of your team’s environment can only help creative a positive space for everyone.
  • Ensure the facility is fully staffed. Burnout occurs when nurses, doctors, and other staff are overworked due to not being fully staffed. When employees feel that they are taking on the brunt of the work, it can be demoralizing. 

Medely can help your facility book the skilled per diem nurses you need to fill the gaps and get to full coverage. Learn more.

  • Recognize and celebrate employees. Employees should be recognized when they go over and beyond. Showing appreciation in physical gifts and compensation as well as saying, “thank you” can go a long way in lifting spirits and making staff feel appreciated and valued. Also, celebrating successes is a great way to encourage more good work.
  • Keep break rooms and common areas in good order. When medical staff is ready for a break, they should find the break rooms clean and comfortable. This should be a place of solace and relaxation. Management should ensure the temperature in the break room isn’t overly cold or hot and that comfortable seating is available.

Benefits of Increased Employee Morale

Working in a hospital has many benefits, and when managers start thinking more about how to create a positive work environment for nurses, employee morale improves, as well as many other facets of the day-to-day operations. Some other benefits include the following:

  • Greater productivity. Keeping up employee morale results in workers feeling happier. When the staff is happy, they will be more motivated and energetic, thus being more productive and efficient.
  • Increased employee retention. Reducing employee churn results in greater retention. As health professionals are motivated and happy, they will be more engaged at work and more apt to stay in their positions.
  • Boosted teamwork. Working harmoniously as a team is essential for productivity and efficiency. Solid employee morale makes collaboration and compromise easy among workers.
  • Enhanced patient satisfaction. Patient care is the most important part of a hospital’s mission. When the staff is motivated and happy, they will provide better care, leading to greater patient satisfaction.
  • Good facility reputation. The facility’s image and reputation are always a concern. One wrong incident can negatively affect the facility. However, enhanced employee morale and happier patients will surely lead to a better reputation for the establishment.
  • Cost savings. Continually bringing on new employees due to employee churn can be costly and waste time. Without relying on overtime or expensive agencies, Medely can help you cut costs and get the coverage you need when you need it.

Learn More Tips to Create a Positive Work Environment for Nurses 

Learn more about how to reach your goals of employee retention. Contact Medely, your source for staffing needs and workforce management. We help you streamline your workforce, combining your internal resource pools with our Talent Marketplace of over 300K nurses and allied health professionals to help you find the most qualified and credentialed healthcare workers and keep them coming back. Reach out to Medely today.

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How to effectively combat healthcare labor shortages in 2024

Learn how to effectively combat healthcare labor shortages with an extended workforce to maintain continuity of care and gain access to tools you can use to manage your extended workforce more effectively and efficiently. In this eBook, you’ll learn:

  • ■ Why nurses are leaving full-time jobs behind.
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  • ■ How you can use data-led staffing planning to manage costs.

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