You work in health care—but do you work in a healthy work environment? The stresses of working with patients and of enduring long shifts need to be balanced with a strong leadership team and a healthy and positive outlook.
Stress is one of the major problems for nurses on the job. Nurses say work-related stress is one of their top three concerns: In a 2011 survey on health and safety, the American Nurses Association reported 74 percent of nurses found stress and overwork their foremost concern and noted this statistic is up four percent from 70 percent in 2001.
It would be understandable if that stress was only from working with patients, but a lot of the stress nurses face comes from their environment and leaders. A hospital or clinic that has good leaders at the fore of its care team will be a better and less stressful place both for nurses and patients alike.
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Do Your Managers Support You?
Having a supportive boss is important in any job, but doubly so in the high-pressure environment of a hospital.The most significant way your manager can show he or she supports you is by communicating. Ideally, your administration will offer several ways for nurses and other hospital staff to put forward complaints, address inefficiencies and make plans for a better work environment.
Employee input should be encouraged. Knowing your bosses are behind you, and that they are listening to your suggestions, complaints and needs will reduce much of the stress that afflicts nurses.
Do You Feel Like a Team?
It’s not only management that makes for healthy working environment. Though the word “team” has had been overused in the past 20 years when talking about workplaces, it’s true a “team environment” is a healthier, less stressful working environment.You cannot do your job well if, instead of caring for patients, you’re constantly worried about the interactions you have with your colleagues.
A good hospital that’s a healthy working environment will take steps to encourage a team atmosphere and genuine teamwork.
For many nurses, the most major stress can come not from dealing with other nurses, but from other people in the hospital — whether it’s physicians, or maintenance or laboratory personnel.To solve this problem, there should be attention paid to how the different departments in the hospital interact, so staff can find areas for compromise and collaboration.
In crisis situations — which can happen even if you aren’t working in the ER — it’s imperative that everyone in the hospital can band together and work well. If you experience unbearable stress in your interactions even on a normal workday, it’s a sign your hospitals may be an unhealthy place for you to work.
Are You Given Help to Manage Your Stress?
In the best-case scenario, hospital managers will realize a stressful environment will damage your job performance. So, you should be given opportunities to manage that stress in a caring, productive manner.
Managers need to have realistic goals and expectations for their staff’s performance, which will allow nurses to balance their home and work life without feeling like there is too much pressure from their supervisors.
For many hospitals, the answer has been to provide benefits such as gyms or organizing clubs and other activities for their staff.
Do You Have Ongoing Training Opportunities?
You can’t become a nurse without gaining an appreciation for good education in the skills and knowledge of the field. In addition to offering ongoing training in the latest regulatory and medical topics, hospital should provide nurses with other training opportunities.
Hospitals that help staff to, for example, study nurse management, conflict resolution or language trainingbenefit theirpatients and the hospital’s staff as a whole.
You know your hospital has the potential to be a healthy working environment if it shows nurses they are valued, opens lines of communication, and assists them to become more well-rounded nurses and happier, healthier employees.
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