I think this problem is so widespread that it is almost the norm. It seems that poor morale is talked about constantly! On my shifts, some of us have decided to make a conscious effort to "choose my attitude" and try to set the stage from the get-go, in report. We talk about things like making a real connection with a patient, how great the housekeeping team was yesterday when they dropped everything to get that CCU bed changed over so quickly for that evolving MI who needed it fast, etc. Most of the time, the attitude is contagious. If there is one who just has to grumble, I'll listen.....but if it as important as the consistancy of the pudding, I'll say something like, "come on, let's hear one positive about SOMETHING on that tray", and she usually won't be so negative (at least around me). This doesn't shut down our communcation altogether, just the unneeded parts. She still comes to me for what she needs (as charge, she still needs to communicate with me and vise versa) and with problems too, but not just random complaining about what dreariness we must tolerate. We have talked, and talked, and talked about this in our nurses meetings (management lead) and all agree the negativity brings us all down, that we spend ALOT of time on a single shift just B & M-ing. It really takes away from patient care time! Even after all this talk and agreement about the problem, nothing changes! A few of us are just attempting to be change agents. It has helped, in my opinion, with what is brought to me anyway.
Some of us have been turned on to the FISH program for positive attitudes, increased customer satisfaction, increased fun in the workplace for employee satisfaction too. It's kind of expensive (roughly $600 for training tapes, materials) and if it's not embraced (and paid for) at the top it will not work on the floor, but it looks like a great program! Anyone out there using that at their place?