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The Employee Survey That Left Me Hanging

Nurses Article   (1,406 Views 12 Replies 879 Words)

J.Adderton has 26 years experience as a BSN, MSN .

7 Followers; 96 Articles; 30,997 Profile Views; 345 Posts

Does Your Voice Matter?

I was recently asked to participate in the confidential annual employee survey at the hospital I work. The “kick-off” campaign focused on the importance of employee feedback and suggestions for improvement. However, the actual survey sent a different message and left me hanging on the idea that my feedback mattered.

The Employee Survey That Left Me Hanging

I recently participated in an employee viewpoint survey at my place of employment, which is a hospital setting. Administration “motivated” employees to complete the confidential survey with phrases like, “tell us what we can do to make things better” and “what you say is important”.  I was sold and get this...  I actually spent time thinking about the feedback I would give. The survey was a typical “rate on a scale of” deal and at the end, space was given to type in suggestions for improvement.  I quickly realized the space had a ridiculously low character limit and I was barely able to fit in one short 6-word sentence.

The Survey That Left Me Hanging

Administration had my buy-in before I started the survey but left me hanging on the idea that my feedback mattered.  If felt like winning free tickets to a blockbuster movie advertised during the Super Bowl and the movie was never actually released.  Now,  I have been a nurse for many years and understand large pay raises and more vacation pay are not survey opinions likely to be adopted by administration. However, reading back through my planned suggestions, I realized it was “easy to implement” things administration could do to show I am a valued employee.

Quote

Faultfinding Without Suggestions For Improvement is a Waste of Time   - Ralph C. Smedley

I have a hunch that there are others with small ideas that have the potential for a big job satisfaction impact.  Therefore, I am going to use this platform to share what I wrote down but could not communicate within the 6-word limit. 

Implement a “Loop Back Around”

I look forward to our bi-annual “Town Hall Meetings” with members of administration meeting with each department to provide an update on quality improvement, customer service and growth outcomes. During the meeting, a member of administrator usually takes “notes” on suggestions, feedback and concerns shared by staff and issues a robust “thanks for sharing this information, I will definitely get back with you all”.  To be honest, the promise of looping back around seems empty as no one from administration is likely to follow-up.  Any small amount of “loop back around” would make staff feel more valued.  The follow-up could be as simple as an e-mail communication, newsletter or face-to-face visit.  In fact, the follow up could be framed by administration as “we listened to you and here are a few exciting changes based on your feedback”.

Education is Valued

Thank you for arranging for vendors to provide in-services for staff on new products.  To maximize training, I suggest product educators plan a time that falls outside of shift “high activity times”, such as medication passes.  Also, an email or other forms of communication to let nurses know the topic of upcoming in-services and times would be helpful and appreciated for planning purposes.

Provide a “Heads Up” on Time Card or Paycheck Changes

Recently, I received a paycheck that did not include the paid time off (PTO) amount I was expecting.  Having less on my paycheck than I expected was a blow, but I think I was most hurt by my director not calling to tell me my time card had been adjusted.  I truly felt like “just another warm body” that was not valued.  Giving staff “heads up” of time card or payroll changes, as well as the rationale behind the changes, will convey the message staff are a valuable part of the team.

Maintain the Supplies and Equipment We Need

I appreciate the high-quality equipment and supplies we have access to when providing patient care.  However, over the past 6 months, our department has experienced a shortage of working equipment and patient care supplies.  For example:

  • Only 3 of 5 wheeled computer stations functioning after multiple work orders submitted
  • Frequently out of linens (especially wash clothes and towels) and not receiving enough stock to last until next restock.
  • Wound nurses ordering wound care, but supplies not maintained in department inventory.  
  • Wound care supplies not available outside work hours of wound nurse for dressing changes.
  • Glucagon not maintained in department stock and nurses must wait on pharmacy to send with critically low blood glucose levels.

Having needed supplies in stock will help decrease the amount of time spent “hunting down” what is needed.

Last But Certainly Not Least,  “Thank You”

I also want to take this opportunity to say “thank you” for the recent change in our night shift staffing grid to allow for an additional patient care technician.  Our patient wait times have been significantly reduced and our ability to provide good customer service has also improved.  

What is Your Experience?

Do you feel like your voice is heard where you work? What are small changes could your manager(s) make to send the message “you are valued here”?  It would be great to read responses from nurses working both within and outside the hospital setting.

J. Adderton MSN has over 20 years experience in clinical leadership, staff development, project management and nursing education.

7 Followers; 96 Articles; 30,997 Profile Views; 345 Posts

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and specializes in LTC, home health, hospice, ICU, ER, dialysis.

3 Followers; 1,605 Posts; 3,401 Profile Views

I worked for a facility once that sent cards with codes to log in at work for these surveys. Of course, the code was your employee number. Yep, they'll never know it was me...and we also got dinged for not answering. The last survey came out 2 days before I was leaving. I told the exact truth. It felt good, but no changes made

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brandy1017 is a ASN, RN and specializes in Critical Care.

2,293 Posts; 37,813 Profile Views

They don't really want your opinions.  Also don't believe that it is confidential.  They know who you are.  Once I made a comment that upset management and they allowed the OP to respond back to me and I really wonder if my confidentiality was violated.  No way to know for sure, but I suspect it was.

Again these surveys and town hall meetings are about pushing their agenda, not your concerns!  There is a reason they left so little space for comments.  Be aware if you speak out especially at a town hall meeting and are critical of something you may make yourself a target!

If you work for a reputable hospital system they will already have policies in place for nurses to offer suggestions and improvements.  Shared governance is the gold standard, but whether it works depends on management culture.  Does your hospital system truly value quality, safety and staff morale and retention or do they just offer platitudes, surveys, etc while being solely driven by the bottom line.  From what you've said, I suspect it is the latter! 

The clues are screaming out, broken equipment not being fixed, shortages of vital supplies, cutting your PTO.  So unless your hospital is in dire financial straits; which is another issue entirely, you have your answer!

I know this is a heated response but I'm tired of rise of these profit driven corporations that are ruining nursing, demoralizing staff while decreasing patient safety and quality! 

 

Edited by brandy1017

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1,668 Posts; 17,631 Profile Views

Any administrator who wants to know what nurses think can throw on a pair of scrubs and spend a few hours in a busy unit helping out.  By ER often gets busy and sends out texts to all ER staff looking for help.  We would gladly let any admin come down and pitch in.  2 hours helping, and they wouldn't need any surveys.

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bmck97004 is a RN and specializes in Retired from Ambulatory Surgery.

9 Posts; 722 Profile Views

Your comments are valid.  Perhaps your 6-word maximum comment should have been "I will email you my comments."

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J.Adderton has 26 years experience as a BSN, MSN.

7 Followers; 96 Articles; 345 Posts; 30,997 Profile Views

1 hour ago, bmck97004 said:

Your comments are valid.  Perhaps your 6-word maximum comment should have been "I will email you my comments."

I love that!

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OUxPhys has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Cardiology.

778 Posts; 9,322 Profile Views

These surveys are never about "changes" or "hearing your voice". They know exactly what they have to do but will continue to not do it. It's a joke, just like getting Magnet status will make nurses have more say in what happens. It doesn't. I worked at a Magnet facility and upper management still did what they wanted. 

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15 Posts; 393 Profile Views

Sounds like the surveys vary by organization.  At JPS in Fort Worth we have our annual surveys and usually hear back about the results especially if the survey results were negative on some issues.  We have bi-annual forum with our CNO during which we can submit wins and opportunities for improvement.  On follow up usually several of the opportunities for improve are being addressed.  We also have semi-annual Town Hall meetings with our CEO.  We have been consistently receiving the top 100 places to work in our area.  I guess I'm just lucky that I found my way here.  We aren't without our challenges, but management is usually very supportive.  A lot of this seems to be CEO driven.  At Medical City Dallas under Britt Berritt we had similar surveys and forums and saw action taken.  Under other CEOs  .  .  .  not so much.

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience and specializes in Travel, Home Health, Med-Surg.

1 Follower; 1 Article; 1,019 Posts; 6,727 Profile Views

I have never worked anywhere where these surveys were confidential. Who in their right mind is going to risk saying too much, if anything, negative that you know 1. Wont do any good anyway, 2. Will probably come back to bite you . These surveys are only given so the facility can provide "proof" of obtaining employee input etc. I also have heard back after the surveys about "the changes that will be made based on the results", but it never happens!   Learned early on not to waste my time.

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RosesrReder has 15 years experience.

8,433 Posts; 26,454 Profile Views

The surveys are not confidential. In my department they go through the results and tear them apart, have called us liars and that we are just being hostile with our opinions. Nothing changes. Following survey people avoid it and don’t participate.  Management will then harass you until you take it because although the survey is supposedly anonymous, they know if you’ve taken it or not based on the unique link they sent you lol.

The funniest part is that you can’t opt or or submit survey if you fail to answer your title, department, years of service and other personal identifiers. What a joke 😆

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J.Adderton has 26 years experience as a BSN, MSN.

7 Followers; 96 Articles; 345 Posts; 30,997 Profile Views

On 11/9/2019 at 12:58 PM, RosesrReder said:

Th funniest part is that you can’t opt or or submit survey if you fail to answer your title, department, years of service and other personal identifiers.

I agree, especially if you work in a small department.

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AnLe has 1 years experience as a ASN, RN.

31 Posts; 603 Profile Views

We recently received an email reminding us of our yearly survey. Then the next email that arrived came from our director stating our unit has participated the least compared to the rest of the hospital. How do they know that I wonder?

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