7 Ways to Create a Positive Work Environment for Nurses
By: American Nurses Association
Positivity and motivation can be difficult to maintain from time to time in any industry, but especially for nurses. When they are often dealing with long hours, high-stress, and highly emotional issues, it can begin to take a toll on the morale of the nursing staff. If left unchecked, a negative work environment can lead to anything from mild frustration at best, to full-blown burnout at worst. Burnout is dangerous and is associated with a high turnover rate, substance abuse, suicidal ideation and in some cases, can be the cause of medical errors. All of this said, keeping a positive working environment is a great way to stave off these dangers and make the workplace more productive and enjoyable for all. Below are 6 ways to keep a nursing work environment positive and uplifting.
According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN, 2016) there are six standards that are the foundation of healthy work environments.
1. Skilled Communication
While it’s important to take pride in your clinical skills, your skill may not be as apparent or trusted if the communication is lacking. Be sure to be as proficient as you can in communicating with peers, patients and other staff members. Showing and explaining how skilled you are with your work can help others feel relaxed and comfortable, reducing overall stress levels in the environment.
2. True Collaboration
Beyond your own skills, remember to take into consideration the skills of others on your team. True collaboration means respectfully hearing the thoughts and opinions of all team members and working together to reach a solution or outcome. When all voices are heard and respected, it can greatly improve the feelings of satisfaction and pride among staff – as well as help balance the workload among everyone evenly.
3. Effective Decision Making
When true collaboration is utilized, the next step is to effectively resolve problems and move forward on plans and projects that will benefit the team. While one manager may be the final decision maker, setting up processes for reaching these decisions and then carrying them out, can make sure that the environment runs smoothly and efficiently and all involved feel a sense of pride that positive changes are always a top priority.
4. Appropriate Staffing
Staffing must be an appropriate and effective match between patient needs and nurse competencies. If this is not the case, the previous 3 recommendations must be utilized in the form of communicating with one another about the problem, collaborating, and reaching a solution that keeps patients and staff safe and healthy.
5. Meaningful Recognition
When it comes down to it, we all want to take pride in what we do. When we are recognized and recognize others for the value that they bring to the team, it can greatly increase the positivity among the entire organization. Always be on the lookout for ways you can compliment, thank, motivate, support, encourage, or recognize others on your team. This fuels positivity and helps encourage them to do the same.
6. Authentic Leadership
By grabbing the reigns of your position with vigor and zeal, you can excel at your job and encourage those around you to do the same. Resolve to fully embrace the importance of a healthy work environment and do your part in contributing to the positivity in the environment. Living by example can encourage others on the team to do so as well.
7. Continuing Nursing Education
Keep in mind that there is always more to learn and additional tips to explore. The Supporting Positive Work Environments Bundle is the perfect example of a useful tool that helps you create and maintain positive work environments, while earning credit to maintain your nursing certification.
All in all, try not to devalue either A, the importance of a positive work environment or B, your role in contributing to it. You have many tools at your disposal that can help nurture positivity for the benefit of yourself, your patients and your co-workers.
American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). (2016). Healthy work environment. Retrieved from https://www.aacn.org/nursing-excellence/healthy-work-environments