Boosting Morale in the ER

  1. [FONT="Comic Sans MS"]I am taking a charge nurse position in the ER and I was wondering if any of you had any tips for boosting morale in the ER... I am very excited about this position but I would also like to boost morale because it seems like alot of my coworkers are very frustrated. Please help.
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    About 1sttimetraveler

    Joined: Aug '05; Posts: 8
    RN
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in Emergency

    27 Comments

  3. by   EDValerieRN
    Find out why they are frustrated, and see if there is anything you can do... I'm sure they won't be shy in telling you!
  4. by   TazziRN
    Don't allow backstabbing, pointing fingers, tattling (unless it's serious).
  5. by   balutpinoysabutuan
    recognize and appreciate your nurses especially if they did a good job.:spin:
  6. by   LeahJet
    Set an example. Don't ask anyone to do anything that you won't. I don't know if the charge nurse at your facility takes room assignments, but if not....HELP your co-workers.
  7. by   Larry77
    Only thing I've noticed that boosts our morale is sweets! Donuts, candy...anything chocolate pretty much.

    Other than that remember you set the pace for the docs and the nurses so don't overwhelm them if you have a choice. I work with one specific charge nurse that always fills every room with sore throats, sprained ankles etc not leaving any room for a trauma, and/or code. So what we end up doing is shoving these sore throats, ankle sprains etc in the halls where there care seems to decline.

    Also make sure your nurses get their breaks--breaks are nice and appreciated when we get them
  8. by   MomNRN
    Ditto on the chocolate and breaks!

    I would love a charge nurse come up and offer to take my pt's while I had lunch! Of course you would probably have to pick me up off the floor after the offer, but I would definitely appreciate it.
  9. by   1sttimetraveler
    Thanks for all of your tips. I will keep them all in mind.
  10. by   danfif
    Well, if you were going to be my Charge Nurse this is what I would want,,,,
    1. Don't blow sunshine up my scrubs by telling me that the staffing shortage is going to get better when you know there is a hiring freeze on.
    2. Do everything you can to assure that your staff gets their breaks as was said before. (I just got off working for 14 1/2 hours straight without a break, so I am not very happy right now).
    3. Give praise where praise is due, make the ones that bust their butt's know that YOU KNOW! An attaboy/girl goes a long long way!
    4. As was said for #3 do the same for the ones that just do the minimum to get by, buts their chops, let them know that their lack of work is noticed, and that YOU KNOW! The ones that bust their butts will notice that!
    5. Don't lie to me, tell me the way it is, and the way it is going to be, I may not like it, but at least I know it is the truth, and I sure will respect you for it, and if you don't, well, it will be a long journey as a charge nurse.

    I could go on and on I guess, but those are the top ones that I can come up with.
    Good luck!
    Dan
  11. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from danfif
    well, if you were going to be my charge nurse this is what i would want,,,,
    1. don't blow sunshine up my scrubs by telling me that the staffing shortage is going to get better when you know there is a hiring freeze on.
    2. do everything you can to assure that your staff gets their breaks as was said before. (i just got off working for 14 1/2 hours straight without a break, so i am not very happy right now).
    3. give praise where praise is due, make the ones that bust their butt's know that you know! an attaboy/girl goes a long long way!
    4. as was said for #3 do the same for the ones that just do the minimum to get by, buts their chops, let them know that their lack of work is noticed, and that you know! the ones that bust their butts will notice that!
    5. don't lie to me, tell me the way it is, and the way it is going to be, i may not like it, but at least i know it is the truth, and i sure will respect you for it, and if you don't, well, it will be a long journey as a charge nurse.

    i could go on and on i guess, but those are the top ones that i can come up with.
    good luck!
    dan
    [font="comic sans ms"]tagging on to dan's excellent list:

    be visible.
    i work in critical care, and our charge nurses often spend the entire shift hiding in the break room or behind a computer in an empty patient room. (easy now that critically low staffing levels have forced us to close beds.) they check our computerized charting and only rarely show their faces to say "weaning parameters aren't charted -- i need this patient extubated by 2:00." or "i see your k+ is 3.1 -- why haven't you given any kcl?" (i've hung three runs, but i'm too damned busy wrestling with the patient to keep in lined and in bed to chart them!) this kind of thing pisses off staff nurses and erodes morale. be visible. let nurses know that you're available for consulting, troubleshooting help and the occaisional clean-up. if you can't help, let them know that there's someone down the hall filing her nails and you'll send her right down. be aware that the new grad who's been off orientation for two weeks is in over her head and keep and eye on her.

    be fair. no playing favorites (or unfavorites.) if all the stinky, abusive frequent fliers go to the nurses over forty (or under 20 or overweight or red-headed or you don't like) your staff will notice. if all the cool educational opportunities and interesting patients go to your favorites, the staff knows. allowing cliques and playing favorites erode morale and increase turnover like nothing else!
  12. by   Bikechicky
    #1 most important thing is CARE, care about the nurses that are working under you. Care about what they care about,
    #2 LISTEN when they have a concern
    #3 Say THANK YOU
    (I almost fainted the first time a charge nurse thanked me at the end of my shift, a simple and honest "thank you for working today, you made a difference") Wow, you know how often nurses get thanked? It is amazing how much a simple thank you boosts my morale.
  13. by   JMBM
    1. Listen / Be Aware. What's wrong with this picture when the charge is chatting on the phone while a staff nurse in the back is drowning?

    2. Communicate and Do it Clearly. A charge nurse is in charge. Part of the job is sorting things out, directing flow and assigning tasks. Don't make the staff figure out chaos. The charge also sets the tone. A frantic charge makes a frantic crew. As an earlier writer said, "please" and "thank you" go a very long way.

    3. If you want the team to be loyal to you, be loyal to them. I once saw a doc tear into a nurse when she refused to bend conscious sedation procedure protocols to convenience the doc. The charge physically stepped in and let the doc know that in this ER, safety rules get followed. Not only was that good patient care, all the nurses in the department walked around alittle taller that day.
  14. by   Jennifer, RN
    there is no way I want to be in charge anytime soon in the ER I work at. Good thing I work odd hours. But, there is one charge nurse that I work with that stands out. She takes patients. Usually more than a full load. She has GREAT critical thinking skills and is very organized. She is a great communicator. She carries a dept phone with her at all times and is always accesible. She has balls. She will argue with doctors, argue with staffing. But she does it matter of factly, not confrontationaly. She is fair and REALLY tries to consider pt load and acuity. She KNOWS what is going on in the dept at all times. She makes everyone accountable for their job description. She makes sure we have help when we need it. She has a very hard and demanding job. A lot of people don't like her. But she runs a great shift. I love working when she's in charge.

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