The nursing force in every health care institution defines the success of the company, and the same is true for home healthcare. They typically constitute the majority of staff who works around-the-clock on a shifting basis at inpatient settings, and performing 4 to 6 visits a day in home care settings. They often provide the majority of care, and are the “face” of the agency or institution providing care. Keeping nurses happy cuts down absenteeism, and improved job satisfaction. In a shifting environment toward value-based purchasing (VBP), you could argue that nurses are most responsible for the ever-important patient-satisfaction component of the VBP measures. We surveyed some providers and nurses and found some ideas to keep your nursing staff engaged and happy.
- Empower the nurses – In today’s environment, the nurses are more diverse and educated than ever. Your staff nurse on the ward can be a mix of all races and age groups working to care for different patients, who may also have great diversity of background. With the high standard of education set by the nursing profession, nurses are smart, educated, and skillful professionals who like to work with less supervision (or none at all!). Nurses in a home health environment were probably drawn to that career for the autonomy that surrounds it. Empowering staff nurses make them feel connected, productive and inspired to work.
- Technology support – Depending on the patient ratio that most nurses attend to each shift, or the number of visits in in a home care environment, helping them to work seamlessly with efficiency is vital. The use of a ‘user-friendly-technology’ is a type of company support that can make nurses happy. Blood drawing and IV insertions, for instance, have seen great improvements in how to locate the patient’s vein and have the procedure done quickly. Gone are the days when the nurses have to spend 10 to 20 minutes trying to locate the perfect spot. Today, with the use of the easy to use technology, everything is done in less than 10 minutes. Explore other areas that are “time-eaters” and stay current on technology to help nurses make efficient use of time.
- Electronic Health Records – EHR technology has long been lauded for its efficiency regarding documenting the patient’s history. However, not all healthcare software was created with the same goal in mind. While many technologies tout efficiency to an organization, choosing one that is known for clinical ease-of-use is another tactic to help nurses. A user friendly EHR will save time, keep documentation current, and help reduce mistakes. Top-notch health institutions have looked to technology to unburden the nurses of paperwork. A good home health software solution or long term care software is also integrated into the records department and linked to all the departments the need the patient record. This translates to the fast accessibility of information and most of all, it expedites patient documentation.
- Health and Wellness Program – Although nurses are capable of maintaining good health, a company’s health and wellness program, like free healthy food and drinks, physical activities, and health-oriented in-services can encourage them to make healthy choices -Especially in home health, where nurses often eat on the run. Healthy nurses take less sick leave. Apart from the obvious benefits that the nurses can get by joining such a program, it can also help them improve their social interaction among their fellow workers.
- Open communication policy – Nurses whose head nurse or nurse managers communicate and support the staff stay longer in the department he or she is currently working. Open communication at the workplace allows nurses to convey their feedback- good or bad- to their superiors, and works to empower.
- Demonstrate Appreciation– This goes for most every employee, but it’s especially true of nurses who tend to be caring individuals in what is often a thankless role. Remind them of the importance of their work, and be sure to show them appreciation regularly!
Nurses have a lot of options beyond the hospital, SNF, and home health agency. Employing tactics to keep them happy will pave a clearer path toward patient satisfaction and will be a long-run cost savings to your organization.
Do you have tips to keep your nurses happy? View the post on LinkedIn and comment!