6 Well Being Initiatives Healthcare Organizations MUST IMPLEMENT TODAY

Can we be real for a second? Healthcare is a tough business. It’s a business that has always had “caring” as a fundamental tenet; however, at the end of the day, it remains a business.  What is the goal of a business? To make money. Sometimes by any means necessary. Sometimes at the expense of people. Sometimes at the expense of the employees.  Many would agree that there is a cost to doing business.  BUT… Does it really need to be at the expense (and sometimes physical and emotional abuse) of the employees? After all, I’d I have a tool in my garage that I want to continue to use year in and year out, I take care of it. I use it. I care for it. I oil it. And so on. 

Is it USE or ABUSE?

Let’s consider some of the practices you may have seen in your healthcare organization and see if these look like use or abuse. -LPNs reportedly having no business in hospitals and then shuffled to offices and nursing homes -“Bachelor trained nurses are better than associate or diploma trained nurses” (We will ignore the fact that BSN nurses historically have double the student loan debt.) -Benefits and raises (merit/retention/cost-of-living) for frontline employees are too expensive to maintain and not renewed. (However, this rule may not apply to senior level leadership.) – Mandatory overtime -Higher and higher nurse-patient ratios (or for those in EMS, more and more runs without breaks) -Revoked lunches -Revoked vacations -Hiring less staff because “the budget” won’t allow it, while continuing to see more employees leave to work for staffing agencies paying 3-4x their counterparts (i.e. Paramedics earn $15/hr as staff and $25-35/hr as agency; RNs earn $30/hr as staff and $100-120/hr as agency; CRNAs earn $60-80/hr as staff and $200+/hr as agency; etc.) -And so much more. All of this comes as a shock to many healthcare organizations that think they are providing substantial support for employees. At the end of the day, we must ask, what else can be done? How else can we support employees well-being while supporting the bottom line?

6 Well Being Initiatives to IMPLMENT TODAY

  • Build a Community of Compassion

The right workplace and leadership will facilitate a compassionate, safe, and supportive culture. This can be further enhanced through peer support, EAP, pastoral care, etc. We MUST have Well-Being initiatives in the Workplace!

  • Personal Connection

Engaging interpersonally and intraprofessionally with others who are likeminded. This is not just “gossiping” in the workplace, but connecting your WHO to the WHY of your work! Helping employees connect with one another in professional and supportive ways, promotes a culture of connection! 

  • Remember WHY!

What made you love doing what you used to do? Perhaps you are still a healthcare professional but find yourself HATING your job. Why did you want to move into healthcare in the first place? If you are not performing to your fullest, how is your organization supporting you? 

  • Self Awareness/Emotional Intelligence

This is about being aware of your emotions in many situations. How do you react when someone is yelling at you? How do you refocus your energy when someone is disengaging in conversation? We reflect EI through our behaviors. Is your organization emotionally intelligent? Are they supporting trauma informed practices? 

  • Intentional Focus

To know where you want to go, you need to know where you have been and why you don’t want to go back. You must first know your WHY to understand how to shape your future. Organizations must be helping employees grow to enhance their potential. Know your why…know your future.

  • Work Life Balance

Work-Life balance is a misnomer. It assumes that what you value in work is equal to what you value in life. I don’t know about you, but my life outside of work is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than my life at work. You and your employer should be passionate about creating work/life HARMONY instead of balance.

Resilience Should Not Fall Entirely on the Employee

When we step back and evaluate these practices, they may seem really self-explanatory and filled with common sense. However, when implemented poorly without regard for the employee while only considering the bottom line, failure WILL be the end result. Organizations that believe resilience is solely the individual’s responsibility reflects a poor understanding of the employer’s position. Dr Tim Cunningham reflected on this in a recent article in the American Journal of Nursing. Resilience is a component that should be considered by both the employee and employer and not falling entirely on the shoulders of the individual. When we expect the employee to carry the load of a failing healthcare system, we set them up for failure which leads to a further demise of the healthcare profession.  Until we step back and evaluate how our practices impact the well being of the frontline employee (see The Many Words of Trauma here) we will continue to see initiatives fail, turnover remain elevated, and burnout at all time record highs. By taking care of our employees, we foster strong and resilient organizations.

Create a Well Organization Today

If you are a healthcare leader, chaplain, or healthcare professional seeking to implement well being initiatives in your organization, such as Peer Support, connect with us today to see how we can support you and your organization!

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