staff morale

  1. I work in a department with a staff of about 30- over the past year there has been a notable increase in back stabbing, negetivity, and poor staff morale. Any suggestions on how to improve the general well being of the staff? I think this attitude and outlook trickles down to patients-I would like to help improve it.
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   sjoe
    These are ALWAYS management problems (and you do not make it clear whether you are a part of management).

    Some books that may be useful for understanding this situation better:

    What Management Is--Joan Magretta
    The Bully at Work--Gary Namie
    Power Freaks--David Weiner

    Good luck.
    Last edit by sjoe on Feb 2, '03
  4. by   Darlene K.
    I agree - this trickles down to the patients - but starts from the management!
  5. by   Lab
    Actually, I am not in management! Just one of the regulars- I just wish my co workers listened to themselves and could see how their neg. behavior influences patient care.

    I have thought about starting a once a month Saturday afternoon get together- movies- lunch- stuff like that- people could come (if they want to) and maybe get to know each other better.
  6. by   Teshiee
    I agree it is the management why isn't he or she concerned that the nurses are obviously unhappy and need to vent their concerns instead of taking them out on the patients. It is hard to deliver good customer care if management isn't supporting the staff.
  7. by   renerian
    I think backstabbing is everyones problem. I have been in management and had employees who were horrible to each other.

    renerian
  8. by   Stargazer
    Originally posted by Lab
    Actually, I am not in management! Just one of the regulars- I just wish my co workers listened to themselves and could see how their neg. behavior influences patient care.

    I have thought about starting a once a month Saturday afternoon get together- movies- lunch- stuff like that- people could come (if they want to) and maybe get to know each other better.
    Socializing together won't solve all your problems, but it's not a bad place to start.

    When I worked ICU, we had a lot of potlucks. Nightshift started them on weekends because the cafeteria wasn't open. Dayshift started doing them because it was a good incentive to eat--otherwise no one took their meal breaks! Pretty soon it was almost a weekly thing. There was a sign-up sheet, and people started requesting that "Jane" being her yummy noodle thing, or "Joan" bring that great Oriental chicken salad. Eventually there were so many favorite dishes that we did a cookbook.

    We always had Shared Governance meetings at someone's house, with food, which made it a lot more fun. And people took turns hosting the annual Halloween and Christmas parties. We also had an annual whitewater rafting trip, and an annual ski trip.

    It's a lot harder to backstab somebody when you've gotten to know them as real people outside of work. Good luck!
  9. by   hapeewendy
    I work on a unit with tremendously bad morale right about now
    but the funny thing is, we have all bonded together in a "misery loves company" kinda way, and the actual nurse vs nurse stuff is practically non existant, it feels good, problem is there are always those few sticklers that are too busy kissing patootie to join in the good fight....
    we have gotten together socially more often now , potlucks at night, informal meetings, emails etc, so despite the negative work environment , I feel more now than ever that I can depend on the nurses I am working with...
    sometimes BS does make excellent fertilizer , the lovliest of things can grow while surrounded by S*it
  10. by   Sally_ICURN
    Originally posted by Lab
    I have thought about starting a once a month Saturday afternoon get together- movies- lunch- stuff like that- people could come (if they want to) and maybe get to know each other better.
    I don't know if this is of any help to you, but where I work we have a staff of about 100, one RN who's relatively new to the unit has taken it upon herself to organize a monthly get together of new nurses (new grads, nurses new to ICU). The get together will be held outside of work hours and the meeting places will be brunch, lunch, dinner, happy hour, etc. A different "guest speaker" will be in attendance at each "meeting." The guest speaker will be a senior RN from the unit who has worked there for years-we have tons of senior nurses, some have been there for 20-30 years! The idea is that the "new" nurses come prepared with 5 burning questions for the senior RN, and the senior RN will field those questions. The questions can be anything from sublties of the personalities of the attendings to what they think works best in a certain patient care situation.

    I think this idea is brilliant! We already have a strong ICU nursing staff, this will only make it better, while giving the oh so deserved recognition to the senior nurses and acknowledging the needs of the newer nurses! It will also positively build on the organizing RN's staff level.

    Hopefully, this plan will endure. The organizer is very persistant and has already lined up speakers for the next few months. We'll see!

    ~Sally
  11. by   Lab
    I think is a great idea! My unit is an ambulatory surgical center-
    that is why I thought Saturday afternoons would be a good start for a get together outside of work-I really think if people get to know more about each other they will find at least one aspect they have in common and this will lead to treating each other better-if we can not be nice to each other ~ how can we be nice to patients?
  12. by   Tweety
    I agree with renerian that morale is everyone's problem. You should at least start with management though and let them know what your impression of the unit is. (I did, but then I left the unit).

    I noticed our morale seems to be tied into staffing. When we have good staffing which is most of the time people are o.k. But when staffing problems arise, when people have to float, or change assignments in the middle of their shifts, or God foribe bit the bullet and do a little work (I know I'll get flamed for that one, but sometimes that's just what we have to do), then morale is bad.

    That said, I think positivity and laughter is contageous. Just set the example.
  13. by   traumaRUs
    We are using the Fish philosphy which seems to be working. It is supported from the highest management levels on down. Believe me, in our very busy ER - we needed something.
  14. by   Stargazer
    Fish philosophy?

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