Tips for Avoiding Burnout and Improving Morale
A Guest Blog Post by Lisa Spruce, DNP, RN, ACNP, CNOR, CNS-CP, ACNS, FAAN
AORN Director of Evidence-Based Perioperative Practice
June 10, 2020
Even the most stellar teams experience times of burnout and low morale. When a global pandemic is added to the mix, the effects can be even more trying to nurses across all disciplines and experience levels. It is during times like these that nurses will look to leadership to help give them the support they need to weather times of added stress. Here are a few tips to ease burnout, boost morale, and keep your team performing at their best.
Be present and engaged. Your team may not feel like they can ask for help. Now, more than ever, it is critical for you to pay attention to what is going on. Observe your staff members and check in frequently to see what they need and how their shift is going.
Allow time for breaks. While the OR is an often-hectic environment where break time is hard to come by, be sure to set an example for everyone else by scheduling breaks for everyone. The best way to ensure a safe environment is to ensure your team has ample break time so they can keep performing well.
Listen. Make sure your team knows you are there to hear them out, and create a culture where people know they can come to you with any problems or concerns they may have. Also pay attention to what they are not saying. Verbal and non-verbal communication can be very telling. Make sure your staff is heard and that you can interpret what they are not telling you as well.
Involve nurses in decisions. This will help your team share their expertise and opinions with others. When you involve your employees in decisions it helps them feel more connected and helps build trust among you and the rest of the team.
Add fun. You do not have to jump on the Tik Tok video craze to add some fun to the workplace. There are plenty of ways to engage your staff and keep the atmosphere light in a time when their jobs are more stressful than usual. Think outside the box and find small ways to show you care. A little goes a long way.
Take care of yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Set an example for your team by making time for your own self-care so you can better care for others.
Lead by example. Remember that you can also contribute on the front lines even if it is just little things here or there. Leaders who participate in the work of their employees are better trusted and respected by those they manage.
Allow flexible scheduling. When workers have the freedom to adjust their schedule to fit their needs, it greatly improves their happiness, morale, and quality of life.
Cultivate a caring atmosphere. Remember that our job is to help people, and kindness and compassion are paramount, not just to our patients, but to each other. When your team knows you care, they will care more too.
Using even just a few of these strategies, you will begin to observe a decrease in staff feelings of burnout and see morale improving as everyone navigates to a new normal in healthcare. We will get through this and be confident that you can also build confidence in your teams by providing encouragement, celebrating accomplishments, and letting them know you care.
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