Employee Engagement in Healthcare: 6 Tips to Engage Doctors, Nurses and Staff!

Employee Engagement In Healtcare

“To save lives.”

Over our 80-year history in the employee engagement industry, we’ve spoken with thousands of healthcare workers. From doctors and nurses to CEOs of the nation’s largest healthcare providers, we always like to ask, “Why did you enter healthcare?” The answer is almost always the same – to save lives!

This is something we’re just as passionate about here at C.A. Short Company, and it’s why we’ve spent countless hours working with major hospital systems to develop employee engagement and recognition strategies that do just that. Today, we’d like to share with you a few tips that have been proven to engage all members of a healthcare team and, in turn, save lives.

Let’s dive in!

Engaging Physicians

Depending on their level of engagement, physicians can either make or break your hospital.

In the healthcare industry, disengagement has a hefty price. A disengaged physician is likely to make mistakes that can cost your hospital a fortune in fines and missed opportunities. In 2015 alone, the federal government cut $371 million worth of Medicare payments to hospitals with high rates of HACs (Hospital-Acquired Conditions).

Engaged physicians, on the other hand, create healthier and more prosperous environments. In addition to reducing HACs by 12.5%, physicians who are highly engaged also increase revenue by $460,000 annually. Here are a few ways you can get started engaging your doctors today:  

Bring Physicians into the Fold

Whenever your hospital or healthcare provider is making a major decision or policy change, it’s important to get feedback from your team. This is especially true when it comes to physicians.

If you’re in administration, it’s likely your doctors will bring a unique take on things. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important your physicians know that you value their input and that their concerns are taken seriously.

Bring them in the loop early…and often.

Identify Leaders

In every business, it’s critical that you identify leaders – the stakes are just much higher in healthcare. When evaluating leadership, it’s a good idea to look for doctors who:

  • Can mentor and train other physicians
  • Share the goals and mission of your hospital/healthcare provider

Note: This does not mean they should operate autonomously. Like all members of your team, they will also need feedback of what’s working and what’s not.

Engaging Nurses

If you’ve ever worked in healthcare, you know that nurses are the backbone of the industry. They’re committed to their hospital, their co-workers, and – most importantly – their patients. But, that doesn’t mean they’re impervious to the high levels of stress and long hours that go hand in hand with the job. After a while, nurses can become disengaged and burn out.  

This is bad news for everyone! Not only do medical errors increase, but so does turnover – which can cost a hospital up to 5% of its annual budget. For these reasons, and many more, it’s incredibly important to keep your nursing staff engaged.  

Ensure Nurses Take Breaks for Lunch and Dinner

As we mentioned earlier, burn out is a major problem for nurses. According to a recent study, over 85% of nurses report that their work causes them to be fatigued. The consequences of this are quite severe.

When your team gets fatigued, mistakes can -- and do -- happen. In the same Kronos study, 48% of nurses admitted they worried about making a mistake or have made a mistake in the past due to how tired they were.

There are steps you can take to prevent this action and some of them are pretty easy. Take breaks for example. 42% of nurses report they get fatigued after not being able to take lunch or dinner breaks during their shift. Make sure your team has enough time to properly refuel!

Hire for Heart

One of the most important ways you can maintain a high-level of engagement is to take extra care when it comes to hiring new nurses. One disengaged or hostile employee has the ability to destroy your entire organization, so making sure you hire the right candidates is critical. Here a few tips that may help out.

  • Look for nurses who entered the profession to make a difference
  • Hire nurses who possess technical skill and have the desire to make your organization great
  • Continuously assess the nursing leadership to ensure managers have the training and resources to lead their teams to excellence

Engaging Staff

No matter how enthusiastic and committed they may be, doctors and nurses cannot run a hospital by themselves. That’s why it’s critical your staff be just as engaged. They may not be administering medicine or writing prescriptions, but their role is just as important to the success of your organization.

Encourage a Culture of Transparency

If you want to have a Culture of Engagement, you first need a Culture of Transparency. It becomes very easy to live in our own departments and make decisions solely from our own experiences, however, this is rarely the best case for patients.

You can learn a lot from the questions your staff may have or the concerns they may share with you. But, if you want to ensure they continue sharing their thoughts, you must make it clear:  There will be no reprisals for bringing up whatever concern they wish to discuss!  

Offer a Points-Based Employee Reward Program

One of the most important things your organization can do to increase employee engagement is to offer a points-based reward program. Not only will this increase employee satisfaction, it will also reduce turnover – a major cost for healthcare employers. It also inspires other employees to perform to the best of their abilities.

A Great Start

The above tips are a great starting point for engaging your employees, but they really just scratch the surface. To learn even more ways to engage your healthcare team, check out our complimentary resource, An Engaged Healthcare Team: Higher Revenue, Lower Costs, and Greater Profits.” It’s filled with a ton of tips for your staff, nurses and doctors.

Keep in mind, creating a meaningful Culture of Engagement takes a lot of time and hard work -- especially if you’re doing it alone. The good news is; you don’t have to. We at C.A. Short Company are here to help in any way we can! Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have, and our dedicated team will do their best to help you. After all, we’re in this together!

Three Ways To Accelerate Employee Engagement

C.A. Short Company partners with companies to manage, drive and facilitate increased employee engagement to increase financial performance, productivity, quality, and core performance outcomes. Our process and research-based platform enables executives and managers to engage their teams to increase the bottom line, motivate staff, and incentivize positive behavior. To Request a Complimentary Consultation, click here.

 

Topics: Total Recognition, Employee Engagement, Healthcare, Nurses, Culture of Engagement, Healthcare Industry, Health care, Physician Engagement

R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP | Director - Engagement Strategies

About the Author
R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP | Director - Engagement Strategies

R Scott Russell is a video host, public speaker, and a sought-after thought leader in the world of employee engagement and recognition. At C.A. Short Company, he is responsible for producing engaging content, helping clients maximize the effectiveness of their programs, and providing ongoing training and education.

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