October 02, 2009 | | Comments 3
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Different ways peers are improving nurse satisfaction

The July 28 blog post discussing ways to boost nurse morale in a time of uncertainty has been one of the most popular recent topics. The post provided quick and helpful hints on no- or low-cost ways to boost the morale of nurses in your organizations. The post also generated a lot of discussion and many readers shared their own tips and strategies about what they have been trying.

Here are some of the highlights of the suggestions:

  • Caught red handed campaign: Recognize staff members who have been “caught” doing their job well.
  • Gift cards: Present a gift card to acknowledge a nurse who has gone out of his or her way to be an excellent nurse.
  • Strive for five: Leave small questionnaires in plain sight of patients, visitors, and hospital staff members and ask everyone to fill them out. The person can comment on a particular staff member doing an excellent job, similar to a comment card at a restaurant. Any staff member receiving a good comment earns $10 on the next pay check.
  • Hand written thank-you cards: Thank-you cards are always a great thing, but hand written ones can be the best. Instead of sending an email about a job well done to a staff member, write a thank-you card and leave it in their locker. After a tough shift, whether it’s night call or day call, the card will surely bring a smile to their face.
  • The stupid nice game: Be over-the-top nice to everyone and overly complimentary to everyone at the hospital. Laughter is contagious, and sometimes taking the compliment to the next level, or having staff members realize how over the top you are being, could make their day that much better.


What are you doing at your organization to help boost staff members’ morale?

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Filed Under: Healthcare communicationHot topicsStaff motivation

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Sarah Kearns About the Author: Sarah is an Editorial Assistant in the patient safety group at HCPro, Inc. She contributes to two monthly newsletters; Briefings on the Joint Commission and Briefings on Patient Safety, and manages four e-zines; Accreditation Connection, AHAP Staff Challenge, Nurse Manager Weekly, and Healthcare Training Weekly. She also helps research new products for the patient safety and nursing market. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 where she earned her bachelor's degree in English.

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  1. We have been trying to boost morale of our employees but we are finding it exceedingly difficult. They are not giving us raises this year. They changed our uniforms to all one color for nurses, techs, secretaries and other ancillary departments. Alot of us have to buy all new uniforms. We can no longer wear our printed tops or different colors. They are not giving us a uniform allowance either. Everytime we find time to have a little fun, somone complains. It just seems that if we get any enjoyment out of anything, it is fobidden at work. I have been an ER nurse for 16 and a half years and it just seems like things have changed so much that many of us don’t enjoy it much anymore. Any ideas?

  2. I thought the book, “Happy Hour is 9 to 5,” had some valuable information for making work environments happier places. You can buy a hard copy edition, pay for an e-book, or read it online for free.

    “As a manager, your most important responsibility is to make yourself happy at work. A happy leader is a natural role model for their employees, and spreads a good mood by their very nature. An unhappy leader, no matter how well-meaning, can’t reliably create that atmosphere of happiness that is necessary to allow people to do their best work.

    “Secondly, managers must know and care about their people. You can’t lead people without a sincere interest in them and some detailed knowledge about them. How happy are they at work right now? What makes them happy or unhappy? What are their goals and dreams? Good managers know this about all their people.

    “Finally, good managers use this knowledge to create an environment in which it’s easy to be happy. Whether or not employees take this opportunity is up to them. You can’t force people to be happy…”

    This chapter has a specific story on a nurse named Helle Schier and her efforts to improve the work environment (a children’s ward at Odense Hospital): http://positivesharing.com/happyhouris9to5/bookhtml/happyhouris9to511.html

  3. We have the ‘You Are A Star’ program. Peers, patients, visitors or fellow employees can acknowledge an individual for something they did over and above the call of duty by filling out the ‘You are a Star’ form and posting it to a bulletin board in the main hallway. “Helping with a difficult patient, “staying late to cover an employee who is running late, “you provided information about a medication, “the housekeeper worked extra to clean a room for a new admit, “you sat by the bed and held my hand when I was hurting, “you answered the call bell every time I rang”, are examples of the comments on the “Star” form. At the end of the month we draw one of the many comments for a $25 gift card.

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