Trying to boost morale advice wanted!

  1. Hello All,

    To join the many others on here looking for ways to improve life upon their unit, I am looking for help. I work on an Oncology Med-Surg unit in a hospital where the dollar bill is more important than safe staffing. Our morale is circling the toilet and probably already down the drain. We are a small unit with not enough numbers and recently had people leave. We just added some new staff and I am trying to find ways to boost morale, 1) because I'm exhausted from working extra shifts 2) we need help badly and more staff = more help.

    So for the time being our biggest problem is our work load increased, staff decreased, and we need a good boost of positive energy. I am looking for ideas that do NOT involve food OR flowers. I want something more meaningful that is relatively cheap to do. Ideas that I have are: doing a bulletin board for each group (PCT/Secretary, LPN/RN day, and LPN/RN night) with comments about the wonderful work they do so patients can see and they can see that they are appreciated.

    I was thinking about approaching my manager to see if we could have food ordered or something to treat different shifts and I am going to ask if their is a budget for staff development. I was also going to do a "secret admirer basket" where people could draw names and then once a week or once a month have something that is cheap and nice (like price limit of $5.00).

    Does anyone have any other ideas/recommendations that again do NOT involve food, flowers, OR being told a job well done (already doing that to the staff), that do not involve better staffing (I have no control over that) or a lot of money? I just am a lowly floor nurse looking for a way to make my job a little more fun.

  2. Visit marikat534 profile page

    About marikat534

    Joined: Sep '07; Posts: 95; Likes: 63
    Travel RN; from US
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in Oncology, Med-Surg, Palliative


  3. by   Fribblet
    Trinkets and snacks and secret Santa type games are not going to improve morale. They're just going to make people more annoyed. Who wants to go out and buy some cheap trinket? It's another chore.

    The best way to improve morale is to increase pay and adequately staff your unit. If your place of employment isn't willing to do this, then any band-aid you try and put on will only make morale worse, imo.

    Food doesn't satisfy nurses who are afraid for patient safety and the safety of their licenses.

    The best way to show appreciation for the staff is to create a safe work environment.
  4. by   dorisc1981
    I had one job years ago where we all met one day for karoake night and that was great. I know it might be difficult to plan in your unit. It was good to see people having fun. Once there we did a bowling night. I miss that. Every so often where I am at now they have fair days were the staff set up booths sponsored by pharmaceutical or local insurances and that gives them a good morale just interacting with the community outside the office.
  5. by   PetiteOpRN
    We have had a similar problem on my unit. There were lots of bandaids applied, did not help.

    The following two things have happened that have improved morale:
    1. The manager has started putting on scrubs and doing the least popular jobs. She will spend maybe 3-4 hours a week doing this, but it's very helpful. People have stopped saying, "management is out of touch, they don't know what it's like..."
    2. We are incredible short staffed. Our manager told us that everyone who is currently employed in our department can pick whatever shift they want, and she will hire new people to work the shifts that no one else wants to work.

    You need to have support from management (probably in the form of more FTEs) if you really want to change your unit's culture.
  6. by   LouisVRN
    We had some issues like this recently as well. I would say try talking to people on your unit that will be constructive and see if there is anything that is small that just needs to be addressed. For us, one of the issues was day shift not doing 12 hour chart checks and suddenly 24 hour chart checks revealed a load of crap not done resulting in ensuing doctors calls to unhappy doctors who know nothing of the situation as they are not the pts primary doc and incident reports. We started having a reminder section on assignment sheets/boards to remind other staff what was important to the other nurses. It has helped a little.
  7. by   05RN
    I have to agree. Staffing does make working better. But until the Management stops being selfish, that won't happen. Atleast thats how it is where I work. The boss uses our floor as cheap pull staff. So, we never now where we will be when we come in. The manager also kept the evals low to decrease pay raises. I know whose pocket that went to. Seriously. Management improving is the answer to better moral!!
  8. by   RNperdiem
    Are staff taking vacations, or is staffing so tight that nurses cannot take much time off?
    I knew some good nurses who left their unit because they were continually denied time off.
    Nurses who get lunch breaks and vacations have better morale.
  9. by   marikat534
    Wow, so I appreciate the replies and the honesty given. I cannot fire my manager and I do not know how to effect staffing as simply put, we don't have the staff and what we have is stretched so thin, I don't know where we can get more from. Until the new people are through orientation in 2 months, this is my situation. I was requesting for more creative ways to help make work a more enjoyable place, not reminders of the elephants in the room.
  10. by   Dub-ld Solutions

    I find it wonderful that many of you want to boost the energy in a more positive direction on your units! Frankly, many administrators are busy and can not find the time or resources to help keep their hard working staff content and energized. Nursing and medical care delivery is stressful and often un-rewarded and yes the typical food and flowers idea is played out. Medical staff need more because they give more! I currently have a business where I can help! I can reach units globally and even come to your unit to help assess your issues. I can come in and do a motivation session with your weary co-workers. I can carefully review your issues and revitalize your current situation provided you and/or your administrators find it affordable and necessary to do what is needed to raise staff satisfaction. Have your manager or director contact me and we can get on to changing the energy of your units from down to profound! Contact Dub-ld Solutions today!

    I started my passion for this business from working on units suffering from staff burnout and staff disconnection. I have been a nurse for over 15 years so I have seen it all. On my units I created easy to do and creative concepts to get the blood flowing again in staff who just came to work for a paycheck and save lives. Help is here all you have to do is get your administrators to the resource-me!

    Good luck and great job on your attempts! The ideas I read were fantastic yet lacked innovation and the unique twist necessary to grasp and maintain the attention of the hardworking and dedicated medical team. Once revitalize, the staff can take their already talented and dedicated professionlism to the next level.

    Blessings and Care!

    DLD Solutions
  11. by   Massachusettsnurse
    I feel your pain. The moral and teamwork on my unit is suffering due to layoffs and job changes (we are now doing all phlebotomy draws). I recently have been trying to get the morale up on my unit. This is what I have come up with: Springtime plant swap for perennials, Team ICU tee-shirts, everyone writes down something people do not know about themselves, and then a game is made try to see who can figure out who is the one who is certified to scuba dive, or has a second degree.. get to know your team members kinda thing. I also am focusing only on my unit, and not the problems of the hospital. Management bashing does not help, not saying what they should or should not be doing. We need some humor and team-building, not more finger pointing. Good luck!