Professional Morale Improvement Program

  1. A 1 year outside vendor run program should be starting soon on my unit. It is supposed to help us fix our very low morale problem and all the problems that are causing that low morale.
    Some of the more experienced nurses expressed scepticism. They think that they have been through this before without much change.
    I am curious to see what will happen. In my opinion we need what ever help we can get.
    Is there any one out there who has had sug a program implemented on their unit?
    I would love to hear about other nurses experiences with this kind of program.
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    About annacat

    Joined: Aug '07; Posts: 75; Likes: 54
    from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience


  3. by   KimberlyBSN
    Im on a "Spirit Team" on a med-surg unit that is constantly trying to improve and keep up employee moral. In my experience "Haters gonna hate" lol The older nurses who express scepticism are probably the same ones that are keeping the morale low! I think some people are born complainers and and will complain all day but never come up with any ideas of their own to fix things. What I have found most effective is when they start trash talking a new idea I start saying positive things and suggest they keep an open mind. Alot of times they build it up in their head thats its going to be awful so they go into it with a bad attitude and because they dont put any effort into it, it usually ends up failing. Stay positive and keep us posted on how it goes and what kinds of things the vendors institue. I hope it helps!
    Last edit by KimberlyBSN on Jan 16, '12 : Reason: delete
  4. by   Chico David RN
    I don't have direct experience with exactly this sort of program, but whenever we have had any sort of new program to boost morale, or "employee engagement" or whatever the latest corporate term is, it seems to work from unit to unit only as well as the leadership of that unit works. The heart and soul of any nursing unit is the nurse manager running it. A good and effective manager makes a unit work, and in the absence of a good manager nothing can make a unit work. It's one more repeat of the basic rule of all endeavors: if you do the essential things right, you don't need extras. If the essential things aren't right, no amount of extras will make up for that.
  5. by   brandy1017
    To the person that said older nurses were "haters" and complainers because they were skeptical of morale boosters, we've been around long enough to see how hospitals operate. I can remember back when they hired "efficiency" consultants that actually had the nerve to stand over you with a time clock (stop watch) to see how long it took to put an IV in, foley, etc. There is a reason older, experienced nurses take a jaundiced eye to hospital gimmicks! Please we are supposed to be professionals and yet subjected to stop watches to tell us how we can do so much in so little time and use that as an excuse to up the patient ratio's, never mind the insulting nature of this, it doesn't take into real world situation with people with no decent veins and all the emergencies that nurses deal with in a day!

    If we were really professionals and treated at such you wouldn't have to punch a time clock and you wouldn't be hassled for overtime or no lunch. I've heard of places where you have to punch in the time clock saying you received lunch and if you didn't then it would be reason to reprimand you for your poor time management skills. This from a place that had already been forced to pay back pay to nurses who had been denied their lunches on a regular basis! Finally the govt got involved.

    So don't come at us with the "haters" because you are going to be the hospital cheerleader! Please, give us a break!

    If morale is low its because management doesn't listen to it's own staff and instead gives excuses why staffing is so poor people aren't getting breaks, are being mandated 16 hr shifts, no decent equipment because of the "budget"!

    They wouldn't need a "consultant" to improve morale if they actually listened to their staff and provided adequate equipment, resources, etc!
  6. by   nursel56
    Thanks Brandy! I thought that comment displayed a lack of perspective but maybe that person works with an unusually pickle-faced group of people. The closest thing we had to attend was "everyone counts everyone cares" excuse me Does that mean I'm a hater? No, it means I know that morale has to be based on something real and that too many companies want to use stagecraft to wallpaper their lack of genuine support for their employees.

    It seems like there's a sort of cheerleader mentality that to me is not what I think of when I think of nursing. If you are under 30 maybe that sounds fun. If I were faced with somebody on a unit "constantly trying to keep up employee morale" and telling me I should "think positive and keep an open mind" my reaction would be to get annoyed and I am a very positive person. So maybe the spirit team is part of the morale problem.
  7. by   kcmylorn
    All these "morale Improvemment" initiatives are the same crap different day(name). TCAB, the suter group-Hardwiring" buy into, engagement etc They all come down to one thing "Support Your Local CEO" who is doing what? Collecting a big, biggie sized salary and bene's. Crying how poor the hosptial is. Begging for hand outs from the taxpaper's money( many of which are unemployed or under employed and uninsured) to support the hospital bills to keep the doors open, so they can keep collecting mega buck salaries and bene's. All the while, making no concessions themselves to correct the situation this has created by cutting their own salaries. They cutt the staff to the bare bones, telling the few that are left to smile pretty, give the "customer" what ever they want to customer satisfaction survey's to boost the ratings so the CEO can collect their performance bonus- which is also in the millions of dollars.

    Any nurse who had been in practice in these hospitals for at least the past 15 yrs, KNOWS these inititives are a bag of crap and can see right through it. We know of these big administrative top execs. salaries and are getting bigger. We see the comparision of staffing rations of today compared to years ago and the increasing complexity of these patients. Is TOTALLY aware of that liability, and the horror show these contemporary staffing levels are now. We know these cheerleading efforts by administration are for the sole purpose to enhance the incomes of 1 group- and it's not the nurses. These inititives have nothing to do with improving "patient" outcomes. One cannot be in nursing for all those years and not notice the decline in the profession's performance and quality of patient care which DOES affect patient outcomes. That is another reason why the more experienced nurses are so disqusted. We have seen what it was compared to what it is today. These execs want a very young inexperienced workforce becase they have nothing to compare anything to, there for giving the finanical people free rein to continue to degrade and diminish the profession for big PERSONAL profit.

    By financial people I include nurse managers in the group because they are no longer NURSE Managers. They are financial business managers with an incidental RN license to satisfy the state requirements. Their prority is not NURSING care, Their priority is the finances. How "engaged or what buy into" are they if Joe Public has missed his 10AM meds or has a Decub? Do they insure he gets his meds?, do they go into his room and look at him for themself, do they flip him over to check the healing progress of his wound? NO!! Would they even know what they are looking at? NO! What do they do if the CNA's are not flipping him, do they investigate their RN's complaint of the CNA's not flipping him NO!! It's get rid of the complainer Nurse, or 'settle this amongst yourselves', or 'you come up with a solution' and toddle off to their next "budget meeting" with the administrators.

    You stand more rathe, repercussions and to loose by even reporting it to them, than if you go in an flip the patient your self, wash the patient yourself, hurry through you meds( big danger and liability there), not to metion the numerous interruptions formvisitors, CNA's who think this is funny to needle the nurse with, but don't have a clue as to how dangerous this is because to them- 'it's just putting a pill in a cup and handing it to a patient'- 'duh, how simple is that', put off your documentation til the end of the shift after report and clock out and do your documentation on your own time. Not to mention, that, all day you have not peed, and put crackers in your scrub top pocket and nibbled on those crackers and called it lunch. Been there Done that- way too many times for too many of these most recent years!!! Nurses are not allowed anymore to eat at the desk- Why do the younger nurses thing that came into being? Because us older nurses preferred or "choose" to eat at the germy odorifious desk over the cafe or breakroom? No! Because staffing was BECOMING(evolving) so bad they could leave the patient area and the work load and patient acutity was intensifiying. This is the "work ethic and sense of responsibility and accountability" of the old timer experienced nurse. What are the younger nurses told- the older nurses have "poor time management skills", Only hire nurses with"recent acute care experience" too expensive to employ. The inpatient units have adopted the philosophy: treat them and street them, re admit. How much re imbursement money does the hospital get for the first 3 days of a stay, which dwindles after that. So they make more money if they get them out quickly and re admit- this was very profitable until the CMS stepped in.

    The new nurses don't know of this yet, and when they finally personnally internalize or figure this out- they move on ASAP to what they feel are greener pastures which is not bedside nursing. And why is it so bad: so some CEO and his CZARS can continue to earn the 'off the hook' inappropriate, unaffordable salaries in this economy, they have grown acustom to and feel they are "ENTITLED" to, off our backs, bladders, legs and mental health: in an industry they are UNSKILLED, UNEDUCATED in and can't function in if there was ever a life and death disaster!!

    So these administrators aka criminals, weed out- by hook and crook( mostly by crook, issuing ultimadiums- take the retirement package now and go, or stay and be terminated and loose it all, ignoring labor laws, harassment, intimidation and military warfare interogation tactics), all the old timer nurses who have mental witness to this, replace with new who have no reference and pump them full of propaganda the equivilant of a high school pep rally. It all boils down to them serving their own best intrest and bottom line, not the patient's, not the staff's not the hospitals but their own. all in the name of business and "the economy" Leadership is done by example.

    JMHO- from old timer nurse observations
    Last edit by kcmylorn on Jan 21, '12
  8. by   brownbook
    Personally I don't get these moral booster programs. I've been through a handful. Maybe it is just me? All I want, need, to improve my moral is an occasional sincere "thanks you did a good job," or "that was a tough patient you really handled it well," acknowledgments.

    I think the money would be better spent on hiring extra staff, or buying some much needed equipment for the unit, or having once a week or once a month cookies and tea thanks you socials to say thanks you have all been doing great work.
  9. by   nursel56
    It's like they don't trust nurses to behave appropriately for each unique situation, so the default they want us to go to is perky?!? I doubt even the patients would see that as normal, and a fake smile looks like a grimace.

    One thing most experienced nurses develop is an antenna for how to act when they encounter the myriad ways patients and their families present themselves and their concerns.

    This isn't to say that some people couldn't use a lot of help in the interpersonal communication department, but they won't absorb much from a seminar format anyway. Chronically ****** off people have issues that most likely need a more individualized approach. But that would mean more effort on the part of the manager who works with that person every day, not some outside company.
  10. by   KelRN215
    kcmylorn... we must work at the same hospital! I'm sitting here reading your post nodding to myself.

    brandy... I work at a hospital that "treats us like professionals" (or so they say)... that means, we don't punch in and punch out and they don't hassle us about no lunches or overtime because if we stay late (hours sometimes), they don't pay us anyway and they don't pay is for lunches we work through so they don't care if we don't eat or stay late. It works for them because they're getting more work out of us for less. It sucks.

    OP... this program sounds like a huge waste of money and, at the same time, something my hospital would spend a ton of money on while at the same time crying poverty and telling us how we'll be getting a 7 cent raise this year and should grin and bear it. As others have said, you can't fix staff morale unless you fix the underlying problems.
  11. by   smoke over fire
    Often these outside "morale improvement" companies are union busters in disguise. There may be an underground movement growing in your hospital and this is a way to beat them back. They will use various techniques to make you believe you have a voice in your workplace, when you really don't.
  12. by   HouTx
    LOL - grizzled ol' veteran here. This reminds me of the time-honored motto "The Beatings Will Stop When Morale Improves"

    Morale is not a "thing" that can be improved. It is like hiring someone to "happy" you. Attitude comes from within as a result of how we experience the environment around us. The only way to create lasting change is to improve the environment. The only people who can do that are nursing leaders - who are ultimately responsible for creating and maintaining the practice environment. Unless the outside consultant is focusing on improving the skills and abilities of managers. . . its all superficial.
  13. by   KelRN215
    Quote from HouTx
    LOL - grizzled ol' veteran here. This reminds me of the time-honored motto "The Beatings Will Stop When Morale Improves"

    Morale is not a "thing" that can be improved. It is like hiring someone to "happy" you. Attitude comes from within as a result of how we experience the environment around us. The only way to create lasting change is to improve the environment. The only people who can do that are nursing leaders - who are ultimately responsible for creating and maintaining the practice environment. Unless the outside consultant is focusing on improving the skills and abilities of managers. . . its all superficial.
    I will pay you to come to my work place and tell this to my manager.