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Featured Webcast: Millennial Nurse Retention: Bridging the Generation Gap

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In 2015, the number of millennials in the workplace surpassed baby boomers as the largest segment of workers. This future generation of nurses has very different career expectations than the generations before them. Millennials expect more feedback, greater collaboration, interaction with nurse leaders, an 8-hour workday and better work-life balance. Unlike their parents, they rarely intend to stay with one employer for their entire career—or possibly even more than a few years.

The shift in attitude has many organizations struggling to retain millennials and learning to adjust management strategies to accommodate their unique style. Join Kathy Bonser, Vice President of Nursing and CNO at SSM Health DePaul as she discusses the importance of leveraging the differences to create a win-win environment for staff and frontline leaders.

Take part in this live 60-minute webcast to:

  • Uncover how making changes in leadership behaviors can bridge the generation gap
  • Discover new onboarding processes that support the growing millennial workforce
  • Devise a structured approach to providing regular employee feedback
  • Understand the importance and value of engaging millennials early and often

Agenda:

  • Improving nurse retention, especially in the first year after hire
  • Understand communication preferences
    • Text or call? How to decide
    • Use of social media
  • The importance of strong onboarding and engagement processes
    • Scheduled touchpoints
    • Celebration of milestones
    • The need for performance feedback
  • The need for transparency
    • Explaining the why behind decisions
    • Seeking out nurse feedback and acting on it
    • Shedding light on how their contributions make a difference
  • Live Q&A

HCPro is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. HCPro provides 1.0 nursing contact hours for this educational activity.

For more information or to register for the webcast, click here.

Combating depression in nurses

Nurses are twice as likely to experience clinical depression than the general population. Why aren’t we talking about it?

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) found that 18% of nurses exhibit symptoms of depression, compared to the 9% found in the general public. Nurses are happy to talk about their staff shortages or their back problems, but we almost never see serious discussions about mental health issues.

Minority Nurse suggests that nursing culture exacerbates the depression issue. Nurses take great pride in their survivability and toughness; they often see trials facing new nurses as a proving ground, a way of weeding out those who are not cut out for the job. This leads nurses struggling with depression to bury their feelings and work twice as hard, which will make things worse in the long run.

There’s also the idea that mental health issues are seen as a weakness. Nurses rely on each other to be reliable and trustworthy, and someone who is struggling might be easily dismissed as unreliable. This puts their job at risk, and can affect their relationship with peers. Additionally, the nurse mentality is to put the care of others first; many nurses might not release why their suffering, as they so rarely address their own needs.

If admitting they have a problem or asking for help is often the last thing a nurse wants to do, how do you help them? The process starts with nurse managers. Educating managers about the warning signs of depression, and they in turn train their staff to recognize the condition in themselves and their peers. Coming up with strategies to help depressed nurses that aren’t punitive and making sure their staff have resources available to them can help alleviate the fears associated with mental illness.  Showing the staff that it’s okay to talk about mental illness and that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness will help change the “tough it out” culture of nursing.

Addressing mental health issues can help improve nurse retention as well. Instead of “weeding out” the weak links, supporting new nurses through a crisis and encouraging them to get help will keep them at their jobs longer, and make them better nurses for the rest of their career.

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Do as I say, and as I do: Setting a healthy example for patients

More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many speculate that percentage will continue growing in the coming years. With so many health issues linked to being overweight or obese, it is in the best interest of patients to listen to their healthcare professionals’ advice and move toward a healthier lifestyle and a lower weight. But what happens when physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are the ones with the extra pounds?

Two students from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine asked this question, and responded by establishing The Patient Promise, an initiative aimed at addressing clinician health and encouraging physicians and other healthcare professionals to adopt the healthier habits they prescribe to their patients. The initiative’s website cited data that found 63% of physicians and 55% of nurses were overweight or obese, and pointed to additional research that showed physicians who live healthier lifestyles and are at healthier weights are more likely to address weight issues with their patients. Within a few weeks of launching The Patient Promise, 300 healthcare professionals and medical students across the country had signed the pledge to show their support.

Earlier this year, we posted on the blog about a study from the University of Maryland that examined the impacts of job stress and irregular work hours on nurses’ weight. The obesity issue, and more broadly the issue of leading a healthy lifestyle, is one that needs to be addressed, and projects like The Patient Promise are steps in the right direction. As the Patient Promise website says, “Hippocrates, not hypocrisy.” Nurses and physicians have the opportunity to lead by example and make a positive change in both their own lives and the lives of their patients; it is an opportunity that should not be wasted.

Leave a comment and let us know about any initiatives your organization has in place or is considering for promoting a healthier lifestyle among your nurses and physicians.

A tough economy forces nurses to make hard decisions

There’s no denying it’s hard out there on the job front. As companies nationwide are continuing to cut budgets, thousands of Americans are still bidding farewell to steady employment, and life doesn’t seem to be any different in our hospitals. It’s no shock that hospitals aren’t excluded from the pool of organizations that need to tighten their financial belts, but the question is whether these institutions are asking their nurses to sacrifice too much in order to make ends meet.

Chained by large budget restrictions, hospitals are cutting back in areas that put strain on nurses. Earlier this year, Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston gave nurses the option of an early retirement to maintain full benefits, or otherwise be subject to a 40% cut in their retirement health benefits.

Nurses at the Charlie Norwood VA Hospital in Augusta, GA, are planning a protest next week because of an $8 million budget deficit. The hospital’s budget problems, they say, have forced nurses to work 16-hour shifts, and have slowed the rate of hiring and cut back on equipment budgets. This leads to tougher working conditions, a higher nurse turnover rate, and could ultimately decrease patient care.

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Study looks at the 2009 economy in nursing

A recent benchmarking report posted on the Strategies for Nurse Managers Web site surveyed 179 nursing professionals in the healthcare industry regarding the effects of the 2009 economy. The results illustrate how the tumultuous 2009 economy had varying effects on facilities of all sizes in acute care, critical access, long-term care, ambulatory, home health, and rehabilitation settings.

Although the data reported do not dissect the particulars at any one institution or among any one age group of nurses, they provide a comprehensive look at the issue among a variety of facilities. The data also provides a glimpse into how each facility dealt with the economic downturn and where they stand in 2010.

The results show most facilities were affected in some way by the economy, as 60% reported cutting back on travel expenses along with renegotiating supplies in 2009. Facilities also reported individual ways specific units helped their facilities cut back on spending—for example, 78% of the respondents said overtime was reduced. [more]

New findings say progress means more than recognition

A new report in the Harvard Business Review contradicts the idea that employees value recognition of their efforts higher than anything else. Amabile and Kramer write that the top motivator of performance is progress.

The study involved gathering more than 12,000 e-mail diary entries from the participants, which revealed that making progress in one’s work, no matter how little or big, is associated with positive emotions and high motivation. The survey notes when participants experienced progress in their jobs, 76% of people reported it as their best day. [more]

Nurses use artistic talents to improve patient experience and hospital atmosphere

This past summer, nurses Mary Cohn and Annette Bargmann of Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) in Parole, MD, visited patient rooms armed not with medication, but with acrylic paint.

AAMC is undergoing a series of renovations that have necessitated many windows in the acute care pavilion being covered with a film to darken the windows toshield patients from the occasional glare of the construction equipment and provide more privacy. This film has replaced the natural light flooding into patient rooms and has created a gloomy atmosphere. [more]

Supporting nurses through those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days

It comes with the job of being a nurse: dealing with the injured, the sick, and the dying; constantly trying to do the best for your patients with limited time; and always asking “How are you feeling?” But nurses are rarely asked that question. Peers, patients, family members, physicians, and even the nurses themselves are too concerned about the health of the patients to take a step back and make sure those giving the care are doing all right.

In a study of 1,215 nurses conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing  published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, 25% said moral distress made them want to leave their position. Moral distress can leave nurses feeling powerless because if they feel they did not carry out their duty to the best of their ability, even after exhausting all possible options. [more]

Use surveys to motivate your staff

Motivating staff is not a once-a-month or quarterly item on a manager’s to-do list. It is a process that requires constant grooming on your part. Understanding that what motivates one person does not necessarily motivate another is a fundamental aspect of your efforts. Setting realistic goals for your motivation efforts keeps the manager from making assumptions about what does and does not work Variety is the key to success and your willingness to incorporate a buffet of motivational strategies will result in positive behaviors.

So, how does a manager know what to put on this buffet table of prompters? Ask your staff!

You can do this through a brief email or survey. Consider these questions for your survey:

  • What motivator was used at a previous job that would encourage you to become more actively involved in change at this job?
  • Which of the following would you include in your top three motivators?
    • Understanding not just what is being asked of me, but why it is important enough for me to care
    • Points toward a higher level as a staff nurse which would result in an increase in pay
    • Knowing my involvement improves patient care
    • Knowing my involvement improves our working conditions
    • Certificates to use as money in the gift shop or cafeteria
    • Knowing my manager is holding my co-workers accountable when necessary

What questions would you add to this list? Have you done a similar survey in the past and, if so, how did the results help you as a manager?

Get your facility into debate mode

p>by Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN

Most of your staff members are probably keeping an ear tuned to the presidential prospects for the upcoming election. With this is mind, many will be listening to and watching the debates between both the presidential and vice presidential hopefuls. This is a wonderful opportunity for nurse leaders to take advantage of the debate and relate to the workplace.

The structured debate can serve as a springboard for initiating change, implementing evidence-based practices, or even defining unacceptable behaviors for a department. When staff have a chance to hear the pros and cons, as they do in a debate, they learn how to validate their needs. A controlled, professional, yet fun, environment of presenting both sides is what the debate process has to offer. Examples include debating changes in holiday scheduling, or how patients are assigned.

To get into the debate mode, start with these steps:

1. Provide the staff a list of current practice issues and have them vote on the two issues of greatest concern to them
2. Post the date you will be holding the debate (in place of a staff meeting) in emails, on bulletin boards, or both
3. Invite someone from fiscal services and administration to evaluate the debate
4. Display a poster of five keys to effective debates for one week
5. Post Web sites where staff can learn more about debating, such as www.articleinsider.com
6. Have staff select one peer who will oversee/facilitate the debate and develop the ground rules for the debate
7. Provide a debate worksheet to get them started

What are some other ways to engage staff in the debate process?</p