In the healthcare industry company Culture represents the beliefs and behaviors by which a hospital’s nurses and physicians conduct themselves by. It is the interactions with colleagues and patients, it is the attainment of goals and objectives by the units, and it is the atmosphere created. It can be argued that healthcare units with a strong culture prove to be more successful as a team, see less turnover, see less sick days and time missed from work, and – let’s face it – the people (physicians, nurses and patients) are happier.
To say Stress is a silent killer is an understatement. Spend a few moments on Google searching stress, and you will have millions of results come back. Studies have been shown that stress contributes to high blood pressure, higher risk of heart attack, anxiety, and depression. The above are just a few of the possible outcomes.
To be successful at creating a strong, thriving culture in the medical industry, one must take a three-tiered approach: Limit Stress, Engage the People, and Repeat.
It is proven that physicians and nurses face a higher burnout rate than almost any other profession. As outsiders looking in, it is easy to say change this, fix that, do this differently, and the problem should remedy itself. The reality is, unless you are in their position, you will never truly understand the daily grind of the medical profession and what can be done to remedy this. Stress levels are directly related to patient outcomes, specifically the quality and safety of care being provided. The answer to limiting stress in the medical field is not an easy or a quick fix. It is something that should be a regular conversation. Everyone holds a responsibility to recognize the signs and symptoms and offer help if able.
Engage the People
Engagement is a two-way street. Regular communication is the key to seeing company culture begin to take shape. Share your vision and where you would like to go. Nothing is more frustrating to people than being left in the dark. Anyone looking to make a change must spend time in the units and speak with the nurses and physicians to truly understanding what it is they are going through. Work days, work nights, do the job as they are doing it. What are the challenges they face? Do they have enough staff to meet the goals? Are the patients happy? Do they feel valued? Leaders committed to hearing their people will succeed at building culture versus those that do not. Medical professionals who are engaged and feel heard will deliver an elevated level of care, increasing patient satisfaction levels. High levels of sick days, missed time from work, and high turnover rates are signs that people do not feel engaged or connected to the mission of the unit. If people do not feel engaged, attaining a desirable company culture is difficult to do, if not impossible, and will not be possible until the concerns are addressed.
A successful company culture is not an overnight mission. Often, it takes days, weeks, or months to build. Setbacks should be expected. The most important thing to remember is relentless execution. When faced with a challenge, meet it head on. When you are unsure of what to do, go to your experts – the people! Build cross- functional teams, and ask them to weigh in on the issue. You have a wealth of knowledge in your physician and nurse teams. These people are the best ones to solve the problems. Get your team involved in every level. Find ways to communicate often. Listen.
In closing, building culture is not a perfect science, but those with a genuine desire to make a change, can. It’s not easy, the road is bumpy at times, but don’t give up. Slowly, morale will start to increase, and you will have the makings of something pretty incredible.
A commitment to your people is one of the best investments you can make. A well functioning unit is efficient, motivated, and engaged. Spend the time now and watch your investment pay off tenfold. Cheers to your success!