There has been article after article written on nurse burnout. Even before COVID, nurses complained that the stresses of the jobs led to feelings of exhaustion and burnout. Once the pandemic hit, we were on a downhill slide so that today, one-third of nurses say they’re planning to leave their job. How much of this is the result of a bad culture? How does culture impact the work/life balance of nursing teams struggling to keep up with their workload? Here’s what nurses can do to improve the culture at their healthcare organization.
How Do You Keep The Nurse’s Company Culture Alive?
What is Your Culture?
Workplace culture is the collective beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are exhibited within a workforce. It includes organizational mission and vision but it also encompasses the values of the people that work there. What is the culture like at your workplace?
Some healthcare organizations have a collaborative culture where clinical and administrative teams naturally cooperate. Other institutions struggle, with silos of teams in a less-than cross-functional work environment. What about administration? Many times, we see us versus them mentality in the workplace between leadership and frontline workers. Healthcare organizations can suffer from this same kind of division. In these institutions, rules are handed down from on high, and doctors or nurse managers don’t have a place at the table where clinical and administrative best practices and policies are created.
Within many organizations, the culture is defined within smaller subcultures. This almost makes sense in large hospitals; administrative teams in collections or coding, for example, may simply rally around the camaraderie of a shared job. We see the same thing in tight-knit ER or ICU clinical teams. Traveling nurses complain sometimes that they have a hard time breaking into a new “clique.” These pods exhibit a different kind of culture which may or may not mirror the organizational culture.
If the culture in your organization isn’t particularly positive for whatever reason, the next question becomes, “What can I do about it?”
How to Change Your Workplace Culture
You are the culture of your organization. Every action and behavior impacts the culture made up of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of individuals. Cultural shifts happen so gradually you don’t even notice until, like a wave, it washes over an organization. If you’re a nurse and you’re struggling within a negative culture, you might wonder how you can affect change. The answer is that it certainly won’t change unless you create the change.
Leading by example is an important way to slowly begin to create the kind of change you’ve been longing for. Every nurse is a leader in their own right, but if you’re a CNO or in nursing leadership, you have a better chance of changing policies to improve the organization. For floor nurses, there may be opportunities to join committees that improve organizational culture. If you have those opportunities, use them. Be the change you want to see in your organization.
Ready To Keep the Nurses Company Culture Alive?
Sometimes, though, despite your best efforts, the cultural shifts you’re longing for just don’t arrive. If you’re in that boat, please take a moment and reach out to the Custom Group of Companies. We help nurses every day find the kind of job they’ve been longing for. Call on us.
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