A recent Kronos Incorporated survey found that 98 percent of hospital nurses said that their work is physically and mentally demanding. Of the 257 nurses surveyed, 41 percent have considered leaving their jobs in the past year due to burnout.
Although not surprising to most healthcare providers, these statistics are further proof that hospital leaders must learn to recognize and prevent nurse burnout among their staff. If left unaddressed, nurse burnout can cause high turnover rates, negatively impact a hospital’s bottom line, disrupt the continuity of patient care, and lower patient satisfaction scores.
Nurse burnout is a complex issue with no single silver bullet solution, but prioritizing employee engagement at your facility is a step in the right direction. In fact, research has shown that engaged nurses can mean better patient care and outcomes. Consider the following strategies to improve nurse staff engagement at your facility today:
- Empower your nurses to speak up: Do your nurses have the resources they need to succeed in their jobs? Start a conversation with your nurses and discover if they have enough staff, an adequate supply base, the right technology, and manageable workloads. Nurses who feel constantly overwhelmed or are in “crisis mode” are far more likely to experience compassion fatigue or burnout. Hospital leaders should encourage open and honest communication among their staff and promote a non-disciplinary environment, so that staff can address concerns before they become problematic.
- Make tangible workplace changes: After speaking with your staff, make tangible changes when necessary. That could mean hiring contingent clinicians to handle seasonal fluctuations in patient load, providing additional training for your nursing staff, or implementing leadership rounding.
- Promote a hospital culture of safety for both patients and staff: It’s no secret that healthcare providers face high rates of workplace violence — the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that healthcare workers experience workplace violence at rates 5 to 12 times higher than for workers overall. It’s hard to stay engaged at work if you don’t feel safe, much less provide quality care and safety for your patients. That’s why a commitment to a culture of safety for both patients and employees alike is so important. According to the Advisory Board Survey Solutions’ National Engagement Database, hospitals that cultivate a strong culture of patient safety are more likely to have an engaged workforce. Plus, an engaged workforce is more likely to support patient safety initiatives, and to feel that their organization does as well.
- Recognize your nurses: Your nursing staff are on the front line of patient care every day, and it’s important to recognize their hard work. Ensure that your nurses know that their efforts make a difference to their patients and the hospital’s mission. No matter how your hospital handles its recognition program, make sure it’s frequent, timely, and meaningful to your employees.
We hope these four strategies to improve nurse staff engagement are helpful to your hospital staff.
What other methods has your hospital used to keep staff engaged? Let us know in the comments below!