There’s Hope for HealthCare
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast,” according to the English poet Alexander Pope over 300 years ago. For most of us, hope doesn’t seem to be springing much these days. The healthcare staffing shortage crisis resulting from the pandemic can make it seem allusive.
As one chief nursing officer stated, “We have been drowning during Covid. Now we are finally poking our head above water and assessing the damage done and realize it was to our staff.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 426,000 workers left jobs in health care in September 2020 and another 589,000 quit this September. Ninety-eight percent of hospital nurses reported their work is mentally and physically demanding. Eighty-five percent admit their jobs make them fatigued. Sixty-three percent report burnout. Forty-seven percent admit work was negatively affecting their health and well-being.
But there is hope. One benefit from the pandemic is that hospital leadership has realized that caring for their caregivers is paramount in the retention and recruitment of staff. They expect them to deliver comprehensive, compassionate patient care to improve outcomes, satisfaction and engagement scores, and reimbursements yet, wise leaders know that caregivers cannot meet those expectations if they are physically, mentally, or spiritually exhausted.
Organizations have learned they must provide specific tools and strategies for selfcare. Hospitals that have implemented the year-long Selfcare for HealthCare® program have noted not only a 13% increase in retention, but 16% decrease in sick days, a 20% increase in engagement, 39% decrease in those considering leaving their positions, and 42% increase in agreeing their leadership cares about them. Employees whose managers check in to see how they are doing personally and professionally were 40% less likely to quit.
The duty of healthcare leaders is to be proactive, rather than reactive, to the stress they are facing. When staff support services were proactive and prioritized, staff health, wellbeing, and performance were enhanced, patient care improved, staff retention was higher, and sickness absence was lower. Leaders are fundamental to creating a workplace climate that enhances staff wellbeing and delivers quality patient care.
When staff participate together in wellness programs, engagement increases. Employees who feel they are personally cared for by their organization and that managers have higher levels of commitment, are more conscious about responsibilities, have greater involvement in the organization, and are more innovative.
Healthcare leaders who implement selfcare programs have hope. Hope is the belief that the future will be better than the present and that you will have the power to make it so. We have the power to make it so by offering programs to care for our benevolent caregivers.
LeAnn Thieman, LPN, CSP, CPAE is author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul for Nurses series and President and Founder of SelfCare for HealthCare. www.SelfCareforHealthCare.com. She can be reached at LeAnn@LeAnnThieman.com