Credible reports indicate that nurses are subject to intense burnout and fatigue across the world. Rigid working hours, staff shortage, mandatory overtime, and many other factors account for this menace. The situation intensified even more after the COVID-19 hit the scene, and the number of positive coronavirus cases exploded like anything. It is one reason why nurses are bidding farewell to the profession.
However, healthcare providers can take various concrete steps to combat the problem effectively. Read on to come to terms with these ground-breaking initiatives that are paving the way for improved job satisfaction among nurses:
Like employees working in other sectors, nurses love engaging with their colleagues. It also makes up for an improved job satisfaction rate. To give you a better idea, we are listing some fundamental measures you can take to foster engagement among nurses:
- Feedback: Encourage the practice of sharing ideas, concerns, and complaints by nurses. Since most nurses would be too reluctant to be vocal, you can ask them to provide feedback without revealing their identity. You can set up feedback boxes for nurses to drop off cards and encourage open communication at all levels of nursing management. It will ensure that your nurses feel heard and empowered. At the same time, feedback is also necessary from nurse managers. Nurse managers often get so busy with administrative tasks that they do not have enough time to spend with staff. Mingling with nurse managers can often provide the opportunity to junior nurses to get career guidance. For example, a new nurse might be struggling with many questions like “how can you get a doctorate in nursing” or “what specialty should I pursue?” Seniors can help them show the right path.
- Teamwork: Teamwork requires a multidisciplinary team with experts and personnel to ensure the best possible patient care. Teams that work together are more engaged with the organization and result in better outcomes.
- Empathy: Positive work environments require trust and empathy. Trust is not something that happens overnight. It takes accountability, honesty, and reliability at all levels of an organization. Not only is empathy essential for patients, but it’s also vital for caregivers, more so for nurses who often get neglected.
Promote Healthy Eating
It is common for nurses to subscribe to poor eating habits. No wonder why a fair proportion of nurses are obese. These poor eating habits are fostered by numerous factors that are part and parcel of the healthcare setting.
For example, nurses rarely get to eat comfortably for more than 10 minutes. They often feel guilty asking for someone to look after their patients while they eat a healthy meal. Instead, nurses grab whatever they can find and go back to work at the earliest. Apart from that, a 12-hour workday combined with a commute often leads to exhaustion. It isn’t easy to think about healthy meals after a shift. On top of that, the nursing job may also have other commitments that make it difficult to cook homemade meals.
You can keep nurses away from poor eating habits by giving them sufficient breakfast, lunch, and dinner breaks. Make sure the meal you provide is full of the rich nutrients that lead to a high energy level.
Nursing can be a challenging career in any setting. It is essential to have formal systems for recognition and reward. In 2017, a study found that a lack of recognition and reward for their efforts was linked to higher emotional exhaustion and burnout. Staff who feel valued and appreciated for their efforts are less likely to suffer from burnout.
In high-effort environments like the ICU, nursing staff who don’t get paid enough will call it quits in most cases. But that does not mean you always have to announce hefty financial incentives to appreciate your nurses. There are plenty of cheaper yet equally effective ways to acknowledge nursing. Offering a monthly spa day is one of them. Healthcare providers that are not looking to spend a lot but still want to give their staff a chance to unwind and relax are increasingly turning to spa days. That way, your nurses will also feel more confident knowing that their health is being taken care of by the employer. A spa day is a great incentive to promote a healthy work-life balance.
Moreover, offering catered meals and giving appreciation cards to nurses could be equally good alternatives.
Invest Emotional Intelligence And Self-Awareness Training
In stressful situations, nurses frequently use emotional intelligence and self-awareness as coping strategies. According to research, nurses who employ a positive emotion-focused technique (where they focus on their difficulties and stressors) are more likely to experience burnout than those who do not. A series of training programs can help nurses increase emotional intelligence and self-awareness.
Nurses are overwhelmed with responsibilities, especially after the pandemic. Resultantly, they are keeping up with high-stress levels and gradually opting out of the healthcare industry. It is about the time healthcare providers pay attention to their well-being to keep the healthcare sector from collapsing.
Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy.