3 things that will improve the work environment at your healthcare center
by Louise Wahlström
There’s been plenty of reports lately about the state of the primary care sector. Reports about stressed nurses, not enough doctors and problems finding skilled people to hire. In this blog post we will go through some things that can help you improve the work environment in your healthcare center.
A good and safe patient care can only exists if the conditions for the people providing the care is good. As the manager you need to have time to give feedback as well as make sure the amount of work each person needs to do is manageable. You can achieve this by continuously striving improve the work environment for your staff.
1. Decrease the amount of administrative work
Healthcare staff are spending too much of their time on documenting and handling large amounts of information at the cost of doing tasks they’re actually trained to do. Most of the administrative work can be connected to the actual patients visits. Such as booking appointments, update patient harts or sending referrals. One way to decrease the amount of administrative work that nurses and doctors are doing by themselves today would be to hire someone for a purely administrative role. That person would then handle all tasks not directly related to patient care. Another way to deal with it is to carefully consider the consequences that planned changes will bring about, like for example when implementing a new IT-system. Will it decrease the stress and the time spent on unnecessary administration?
2. Collaboration between professionals
Stress becomes more manageable when you can influence your own situation. Cooperation at the healthcare center between professions is something that’s been proven to be successful in reducing stress and creating a better working environment. It’s becoming more and more comment for healthcare centers to do rounds where they meet and discuss patients. It’s beneficial for but patients and healthcare staff because it makes it easier to make quick, informed decisions regarding next steps for each patient. The rounds also offer a good learning experience for everyone involved. This learning experience is helpful to the nurses answering the phone and booking appointments for the patients. It helps them determine when some advise over the phone is enough and when the patient needs to come in for an appointment. The rounds also strengthen the sense of fellowship among the staff. It’s also useful as a tool for everyone to get a sense of who is extra busy at the moment, as well as how much work each and every person does every day.
3. Schedule reflection and recuperation
Recuperation, a balance between work and free time as well as feeling happy about going into work – are all experiences that healthcare staff mentioned as positive factors that might influence their well being in the work place. They gave these answers in a study conducted by a Swedish university in 2014. Other interesting results from that study showed that good feedback is an important factor, this of course requires an available and responsible manager. Another thing mentioned is feeling seen and heard by co-workers. The youngest employees to be interviews for the study value time for reflection as the most important thing. Recuperation is also of great importance especially for the oldest employees interviewed. There aren’t a lot of studies out there regarding the well-being of staff within the primary care sector which is why this study is still highly relevant 4 years later.
As a manger it is your job to make sure that your staff has the best conditions possible to do their job which is to give the best care to the patients. In order to improve their work environment and lower their stress levels you need to find ways to decrease administrative work, increase collaboration between professions and create space in the schedule for reflection and recuperation.