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December 15, 2019

Promoting Healthy Work Environments Using Evidence Based Practices

For anyone who attended the FONE 2019 Educational Conference on November 7 and 8, it was evident the focus was promoting healthy work environments using evidence-based practices.  Even though the conference was just a month ago, it seems like light years during this busy holiday season.  Today we will recap what the leaders spoke about, and leave you with a few things to consider that will elevate your staff engagement in 2020! 

Healthy work environments

The speakers discussed the roles of corporate culture that instill colleague compassion, support of well-being, and best practices to create and sustain healthy work environments for everyone.  Because of the impact the best practices have on staff engagement and patient care, organizations move to add an innovative technology that automates the evidence based practices for easy access and use.  Here are a few other points made during the conference, in case you missed it.

Compassion for Colleagues

Denise McNulty, DNP, MSN, RN-BC, ARNP, spoke about having compassion for colleagues by identifying and addressing incivility and bullying in the workplace.  McNulty’s research shows that the healthcare industry has one of the highest levels of bullying in the workplace.  In fact, nearly 60% of new nurses quit their first job within the first year, and of that number, almost 21% related to workplace incivility.  Because of that, nearly 50% of nursing school graduates are afraid of becoming a victim of workplace bullying when they begin their first job.  This incivility and bullying impacts recruitment and retention, something increasingly important as the nursing shortage worsens.  The fact is, replacing just one nurse can cost a healthcare organization $88,000. 

How to Improve 

To decrease the incidents of incivility and increase team accountability, McNulty encouraged the following:  

  • Define the organization policy for incivility, bullying, mobbing, and workplace violence.
  • Recognize and address the signs of incivility, which include rude and discourteous actions, refusing to assist a coworker, name-calling, condescending tone, public criticism, gossiping, and spreading rumors.
  • Recognize and address the signs of bullying, which include repeated, unwanted, and harmful actions with intentions to offend, humiliate, and cause distress, including hostile remarks, verbal attacks, threats, taunts, and other intimidation.
  • Educate staff for options to address, including confronting the individual or reporting behavior to security, the department leader, or HR.
  • Create a safe zone program that includes a safe zone point of contact for each ancillary department.
  • Develop resilient staff and leaders that will identify and address incivility.
  • Implement technology that tracks, trends, and provides evidence that promotes feedback and coaching opportunities.

Supporting Well-Being, Harmony, and Resilience

OSHA describes healthcare as one of the most stressful places to work in America.  To help organizations decrease stress levels, Adele Webb, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, focused her presentation on the benefits of creating a culture of harmony, wellness, and resilience.  This is especially important for healthcare organizations as OSHA describes healthcare as one of the most stressful places to work in America.  She shared some alarming statistics. Did you know that caregiver burnout is at 60%, with physician depression remaining elevated at 39%?  Nurses are experiencing emotional exhaustion at 31%, and nearly 25% of ICU nurses are testing positive for PTSD.

How to Improve

While the statistics are scary, Webb did suggest the following to start your organization on its path to harmony, resilience, and well-being:

  • Begin with self-care, including personal safety, sleep, and decompression time.
  • Continue with mindfulness, meditation, healthy eating, and financial wellness.
  • The organization can support with training and workshops that help identify and address physical safety, meaning and purpose, camaraderie and teamwork, and daily improvement opportunities.
  • Further support can be given to staff with innovative technology that supports staff and patient safety; one that drives visibility into engagement and interactions by tracking not only performance but preferences and historical actions. These pieces of evidence provide the foundation and proof for change.

Creating & Sustaining Healthy Work Environments

This lecture given by Lindy Cassidy, PhD, APRN, CCNS, CCRN-K, addressed how organizations can create and sustain healthy work environments.  The research here shows the direct link between work environment, patient safety, and optimal outcomes.  To improve patient outcomes, you must first ensure you have a healthy work environment with engaged caregivers.

Research included by Cassidy showed side-by-side comparisons of those that had standards implemented to those that did not, and the results were apparent.  Skilled communication for RNs proficient in communication skills rose from 76% to 89%.  The TMs provided support to develop communication and collaboration skills, which climbed from 59% to 88%.  Using the same baseline for collaboration, the evidence showed a spike of RNs pursuing and fostering true collaboration from 71% to 92%.  Showing an even bigger variation, those with structured processes were at 81% of collaboration as compared to a frightening low 49% for those that did not have the standards implemented.

How to Improve

To create a healthy work environment, Cassidy recommended that the following should happen:

  • Focused and sustained effort for addressing work environment issues.
  • Changing long-standing cultures, traditions, and hierarchies to collaboration between staff and caregivers to provide feedback and optimal contribution while feeling fulfilled in their work.
  • Skilled communication and true collaboration with set standards.
  • Meaningful recognition to caregivers that go the extra mile.
  • Authentic leadership with organization-wide communication and collaboration.
  • Effective decision making for the best patient care.

How to Get Started

The good news about this laundry list of improvements is that organizations can make them simply by incorporating Leadership Rounding as part of their employee engagement program.  Leadership Rounding standardizes the engagement process, and evidence gathered in the technology proves it elevates communication, collaboration, and engagement.  What’s more, leaders discover barriers to patient care while improving staff engagement.  An added bonus here is that with the information they uncover, they have what they need to provide the meaningful feedback and recognition their staff will appreciate.  Like to hear more? Download our Leadership Rounding eBook!

Leadership Rounding - Leading the Way for Staff EngagementCLARIFIRE HEALTH® Can Help!

CLARIFIRE HEALTH® is workflow technology that automates processes for large hospital systems and medical centers across the United States.  More than a point solution, our innovative technology has processes that improve staff engagement, patient perception of care, patient safety, patient experience, and patient outcome. Ask us how TODAY!


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Tammy Bourassa

Tammy came to Clarifire with two decades of experience as a forward-thinking national business development leader. She began her healthcare career working for large, outpatient healthcare providers. She later transitioned her skills to work with technology organizations so that she could add value and innovation. Her process-oriented expertise and experiences enable her to navigate large healthcare system needs with a thoughtful, consultative approach. Tammy has successfully led account management, sales, and implementation teams through technology integrations to elevate quality for clients. She enjoys creating long-standing business relationships while continuously improving the strategic execution of each clients’ goals.

When she’s not at work, Tammy loves traveling, hiking, reading, and tasting good wine.
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