As a nurse, it’s easy to become burned out. Whether it’s because of a staff shortage, long working hours or the unpredictability and stress from the pandemic, nurses can become overwhelmed with their workload and lose motivation to provide quality care. As referenced in a HealthLeaders article, The Joint Commission acknowledges nurse burnout as “among the leading patient safety and quality concerns.”
In order to maintain quality patient care, it’s important to do your part to prevent nurses from feeling this way. By making an effort to keep nurses motivated and engaged, you can improve your overall success as a healthcare provider.
Show Understanding & Let Your Nurses Do Their Jobs
You know how tough it is to be a nurse on the floor. Show your nurses that you know how tough it is. Being a dynamic leader helps build and promote the culture needed to motivate your staff, boost their engagement, and keep them aligned. Try to affect change that will make their daily lives easier. Studies done by the Harvard Business Review confirm that this is a key principle of keeping employees engaged and focused on their job.
On that same note, give your nurses a little bit of autonomy. Some organizations accomplish this by moving away from 12-hour shifts, which are known to increase nurse stress, to flexible shifts. Implementing 8-hour or 10-hour shifts is easy with a configurable solution like ShiftWizard. You might also consider introducing nurse self-scheduling, which gives nurses control of their work schedule and might reduce stress
Provide Positive Feedback
Words are more powerful than you may realize, especially in the workplace. Even simple pleasantries such as “thank you” and “please” can go a long way in helping your nurses feel valued and worthwhile. Even better, instead of always providing reprimanding when mistakes are made, start focusing on the good things your nurses do on a daily basis. As you know, being a nurse is emotionally draining and some days, it can feel like nothing goes right. By offering encouragement, they’ll know you care and stay more optimistic.
One way to accomplish this is to schedule a weekly meeting with each nurse to offer personalized feedback on their performance. This will allow you to gently correct sub-par work while still fostering positive relationships.
Offer Extrinsic Motivation
Nurses have to have intrinsic motivation, as the occupation centers around helping people heal in a challenging environment. However, to keep these intrinsic levels raised, it doesn’t hurt to also provide extrinsic motivation. While you may not have the budget for monetary incentives, even small things like offering gift cards or a fancy dinner for the top performing nurses can motivate them to work harder and provide better care.
Swedish Covenant in Chicago implemented a non-monetary incentive program intended to reduce agency costs. While they saved $1.4M in the first year, they were pleasantly surprised with an unexpected result – a positive impact on team building and staff morale!
By choosing to enact some of these principles in your workplace, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your staff motivated and engaged.
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