April 29, 2017
Building Nurse Morale in the Work place
Morale can make or break your work place culture. It is easy to tell when a work place had good culture or not- you feel the positive vibes and the nurses are not as fearful of policies and ready to tattle on each other. And to mention for the umpteenth time, food is NOT a morale enhancer.
Nurses eat food because they have to eat and because everyone likes to nibble every now. While catering food for your nursing staff is a nice thing to do, it should never replace the foundational structure of having good morale building and culture in place.
Six Helpful Tips Towards Building Excellent Morale in Your Nursing Staff
- Listen: By listening, you have to practice active listening. Don’t listen to respond; listen to understand. Do you truly hear what your nursing staff is saying? Sometimes all it takes to avert low morale is just to listen. You don’t necessarily have to follow what that person is saying, you are only letting them know, “Look, you are important and I hear you.” So cultivate the active listening habit.
- Be Visible: As a leader, you need to be seen. If you do this right the first few times, you’ll find that your nursing staff understand. When there is a nursing shortage or crises on the floor, step out and mingle with your nursing staff. Don’t be a nuisance but find out what you can do to help. Most often times, your nursing staff will turn down your offer, but it is the thought that counts. They appreciate it.
- Support your Nurses: These days with the fear of litigation, leaders are afraid to stand behind their nursing staff. Don’t be. Do your investigation as you must, but try not to throw your nursing staff under the bus. Be fair and treat them as your client, because they are indeed your client. In doing so, you will have a most loyal staff and employee moral will be through the roof. You will also find that your nursing staff will stick up for you and call out their colleagues on their b.s.
- Have a strong mentor-ship program: Most nurses leave their places of employment, not because they couldn’t try harder but because they were miserable and did not have anyone to turn to. The cost of hiring and training nurses only to lose them not long afterwards takes a toll on finances and employee morale. So make sure that in your employee retention program, that having a good mentor-ship program is key. Why go through all the handwork of hiring nurses only to lose them? But whatever you do, make sure that the mentors are voluntary; do not mandate it or such a program is sure to fail.
- Communicate clearly and frequently: Don’t let the grapevine do the communication for you. Find a common medium accessible to all your nursing staff and pass information clearly and frequently. It improves morale when your nursing staff know what is going on at their workplace. Nurses spend a huge amount of time and need to know when something will impact them BEFORE it does. It helps with planning and improves morale.
- Practice Fairness: Nothing is more damaging to a nurses’ morale than to feel that they are being treated differently from their colleague. While each personnel situation maybe different, try as much as possible to be fair and consistent at all times. When nurses recognize your fairness, they are inclined to do more and employee morale goes up.