In every workplace environment, challenges are faced on a daily basis. In the healthcare industry where patient safety is of the utmost importance, workdays are especially long and expectations are high. These factors, coupled with rigid compliance regulations that require an immense amount of planning, training and execution, can often cause a lot of stress for healthcare professionals.
This stress is often overwhelming and can significantly affect employee performance. Not only can it hinder an employee’s results, but it can also be passed on to other staff in the form of negative attitudes or taking shortcuts on the job. As well, on a personal level, when stress builds up over time it starts to affect the individual. Stress puts pressure on our physical bodies, coupled with overexertion and sleep deprivation. Although this level of stress in healthcare may not always be apparent, it is important to recognize challenges faced by workers in the healthcare world to try and prevent these occurrences.
Here are my top 3 suggestions to help reduce stress in healthcare environments:
1. Create a Positive and Welcoming Work Culture
They say we spend about one third of our lives working, so it’s no wonder that our work environment has a big impact on our well-being. An easy way to mitigate stress for your employees is to put effort into creating a positive work culture.
It doesn’t have to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive either. Here are a few easy ideas you can try implementing today:
- Have a “welcome lunch” when a new employee joins the team
- Create a positive work environment by continuously highlighting the great work that employees are doing
- Encourage team bonding by organizing team building events
- Communicate often with employees and establish an open-door policy so they feel comfortable coming to you with concerns
- Use events like “compliance and ethics week” to get staff motivated and working with other departments
Speak with your manager or director to see if they can allocate some funds towards staff events to get even fancier with your company culture ideas!
2. Encourage Healthy Practices at the Workplace
- Try a healthy competition between co-workers (Maybe a weigh-in challenge where the person with the biggest weight loss gets a prize – maybe they get a few extra vacation days?)
- Order from healthier restaurants for lunch meetings
- Stock the communal fridge with fresh fruit
- Organize a team yoga or meditation session
If you get stuck, why not encourage staff to give suggestions on how they like to practice healthy habits? Generally people are eager to collaborate if it means improving their daily life.
3. Streamline Stressful & Time-Consuming Tasks
Okay, so you’ve implemented steps 1 and 2 and things are going well, but there are still the stressful aspects of the job itself. Healthcare professionals are spending too much time stressing about compliance laws and filling out paperwork when all they want to do is take care of their patients: the real reason they got into this field.
One way you can assist your administrators and frontline staff is to make sure that they are adequately informed on new compliance laws, healthcare software, organizational policies and procedures, etc. and are aware of the part they play within these processes. What does this involve and how can you help?
- Employ easy-to-use, up-to-date, accessible software that houses any and all regulations, policies and procedures staff may need to review:
- For example, we’ve noticed that getting rid of the dusty old binders with hundreds of papers to flip through and switching to a policy management software like PolicyManager™ can save healthcare workers between 5 to 30 minutes searching for relevant documents – all that time adds up!
- Make sure all staff are adequately trained – not knowing how to do something or use a certain software can be a major cause of stress and concern for employees
- Host regular educational opportunities:
- Try a lunch and learn (with healthy snacks!)
- Send your employees to worthwhile conferences (such as the HCCA Compliance Institute or IHI conferences)
- Give them the opportunity to attend virtual webinars that discuss topics they may want more information about, topics like the HIPAA audit, compliance law, vendor and risk management, etc.
Being well trained is the best and easiest way to know how to do your job correctly, efficiently and safely. If an employee has access to educational and training resources it will reduce the stressful aspects of their job.
Although there will inevitably be stress in any work environment, striving for a work environment with reduced stress levels, benefits not only the employee, but also the corporation and the end user. We all face challenges in our workplace, but promoting stress reduction strategies will ease the strain and make all of our jobs more enjoyable.
At PolicyMedical, we want to better serve healthcare professionals. Our aim is to continue innovating and improving our software solutions to help healthcare professionals get back to their patients, faster. We know that a robust policy management offering is not all it takes to win over our clients’ trust so we strive to offer the best service and support imaginable to everyone. That means, even if our solutions are not the right fit for you, we’re here to help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you require more information or simply have a few questions you’re curious about. If you want to learn about our PolicyManager™ software, book a free demo to see it in action.