Happy nurses make happy patients, that is my motto, and the opposite does not always hold true. An issue we as nurses face nowadays is working in a toxic work environment, where the love for the field of nursing is lost. My favorite definition of nursing is to "try to cure or alleviate an injury, injured part, or illness by treating it carefully and protectively." And although every nurse I have come in contact with, holds that belief and define their profession in such way, they are given obstacles on top of obstacles preventing that care from reaching the patient.
I don't believe that the answer to every nurse's prayer lies solely in the issue of patient to nurse ratios, but also in the environment they are allowed to perform their art of caring. A nurse cares for his or her patients in an artistic form, developed by years of research and evidence driven practices. At one point in time, when speaking to older more seasoned nurses, they loved their jobs, nowadays nurses are burnt out 4 months after graduation.
A healthcare facility that seeks great patient satisfaction scores, must first invest in nurse satisfaction scores. Invest the time and money to make your nurses and other medical and non-medical staff feel appreciated at the least, or that they matter. Before implementing some of the nonsense rules and regulations affecting nurses and the nursing practices within your facility, take the time to understand the nursing occupation. Before giving me another task to check off during my shift, assess the countless other tasks I need to complete that actually involves caring for the patients, whom are the actual reasons we are all still here.
Nurses are left voiceless in the complete spectrum of healthcare, yet we are the largest group of healthcare professionals. It is really sad to see a brand new nurse, coming to work depressed with the decision of studying to become a nurse, feeling helpless and hopeless in the units they were hired to care for the sick. Make that new nurse feel welcomed, support that new nurse with education and check in on them every so often, assess their weaknesses, not in a punitive way, but work alongside them to make them the nurses they were meant to be.
The more seasoned nurses need not to be left behind as well, show them the appreciation they deserve for training, and supporting the younger nurses, listen to their concerns and implement the changes they feel is needed to run YOUR units.
Patient satisfaction scores are shown to be higher in hospitals that score just as high in employee satisfaction surveys. Yes cutting the patient ratio is a top priority for us, and it is proven to reduce infections, mortality, as well as increase patient satisfaction, but we need more than that. Nurses need to be heard, we demand that administration actually round on us with the purpose of making us part of the team, and not only to show us what we could and should be doing "different". Stop listening to and paying some groups to come and tell you what your patients need to improve your HCAHPS, when you should spend more on your employees and focus on what they need. Your patients benefit more from your nurses having the equipment and support than from the rounding log being signed hourly.
Also, we need to stop this nurse on nurse bullying. Stop throwing shades on the people you work with and act as a unit. If one is struggling, pitch in to help. As an amateur blogger, my sole purpose is to attempt to give nurses such as myself, a voice. I hope to have an impact in every unit I work in, and as a traveling nurse, I seek to take away from every unit something different to help me shape myself as a professional nurse.
Nurses everywhere want to be heard. National nursing associations does not do your bedside nurses any justice, listen to the voice within your healthcare facility, invest on your employees and you will get great outcome. One CEO I worked for once said that, patients come to the hospital for nursing care, although they may call for the doctor, it is the nurses who answers. Let that sink in for a little bit.
Billionaire CEO Richard Branson said in an interview with Inc.com that "if the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the job they're doing, if you give them the tools to do a good job, they're proud of the brand, if they were looked after, if they're treated well, then they're gonna be smiling, they're gonna be happy and therefore the customer will have a nice experience." This should go without saying in every company, including in the healthcare industry.
The Dude Nurse
Klaus Campos, BSN-RN