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5 Ways Managers Can Make Nurses Feel Valued

Nurses Article   (4,084 Views 10 Replies 807 Words)
by J.Adderton J.Adderton, MSN (Member) Writer Verified

J.Adderton has 20 years experience as a MSN .

7 Followers; 60 Articles; 28,062 Profile Views; 279 Posts

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Research shows nurses stay in jobs when the nurses feel valued, respected and appreciated. Managers play an important role in creating a culture that promotes building relationships with nurses and makes them feel important and valued.

5 Ways Managers Can Make Nurses Feel Valued

Health systems have to be forward thinking and use creative strategies to recruit good nurses.  According to an NSI Nursing Solutions’ 2016 National Healthcare and Retention RN Staffing Report, it costs a conservative estimate of $54,400 to replace each nurse or $373,200 for every percentage point change to the turnover rate.  About 81.8% of organizations say retention is a top priority, yet only 51.5% have a formal retention plan in place. Health systems often focus on recruitment efforts and fail to look at internal factors contributing to the high rate of nurse turnover.  The reality of the healthcare environment results in nursing caring for sicker patients with more to do and less time. The benefit of nurse satisfaction is improved nurse productivity and patient care. Nurses need to be recognized and valued to remain once they have been hired.

Nurses leave a job for a variety of reasons such as lack of professional development opportunities, lack of recognition, not enough staff, too many responsibilities, and better pay.  Research shows nurses stay in jobs when the nurses feel valued, respected and appreciated. Managers play an important role in creating a culture that promotes building relationships with nurses and makes them feel important and valued.  A study conducted by the Annals of Behavioral Medicine measured the heart rate of 100 nurses at  Scottish teaching hospital while they were doing nursing tasks in real-time.  They found nurses felt less stress if they felt like they were in control of their activities, valued and appreciated. Recognizing the important contribution of nurses does not have to be complex or time-consuming.  Consider these easy ways to improve nurse and leadership relationships.

Set a tone of cooperation and teamwork.

Management sets the tone for employees and the work environment.  Nurse managers must make a conscious effort to create a culture of cooperation and teamwork.  Nothing brings down the mood of employees like a nurse manager who goes straight to their desk with an attitude of disengagement.  

Make communication a priority.

Good communication and clear expectations are good for nurse morale. Nurses are more confident when they know what is expected of them. Staff wants to be kept “in the loop” on what is happening in the organization.  Transparency makes nurses feel like they are trusted and an important part of the team. Meet with staff regularly to share information, provide praise and recognition and to encourage feedback.

Praise more than you criticize.

Just think about all the information flowing to nurses from their managers.  A nurse frequently is informed of chart audits, holes in staffing, documentation issues and much more. There seems to be no shortage of feedback on working harder and areas identified for improvement.  Nurse managers should praise more than they criticize. Share with staff when audit findings improve and benchmarks are met. Giving a sincere “thank-you” or “good job” in real time makes a big difference.

Solicit their ideas and opinions.

Nurse managers are often perceived as being too removed from bedside nursing and not in touch with the day to day challenges nurses face.  Unfortunately, the perception of management disengagement is often an accurate read. Ask what about their jobs is working and what areas need to be addressed. Encourage staff to be part of the solutions for daily challenges.  Also, follow up and communicate what is being done to address the issues they identify as a source of job dissatisfaction.

Recognize the warning signs of low morale.

Nurse managers need to be alert for signs of low morale in staff and themselves.  Morale can change quickly and it is important to be in touch with day-to-day events.  Remember, morale comes from the top down and staff can recognize when a manager’s attitude shifts.  

Here are a few warning signs:

  • Negative attitude that lowers patients’ quality of care
  • Low productive
  • Resentment towards coworkers
  • Talking about others negatively
  • Lack of attention to details
  • Increased absenteeism or tardiness
  • Withholding important information

When employees feel valued, they are more likely to stay with an organization despite challenges and bumps in the road.  Nurse managers have an incentive to retain good nurses- improved performance and patients outcomes. Nursing by nature a stressful job, but perhaps with a sincere effort to make staff feel valued nurse managers can significantly improve the work environment.

What has made you feel undervalued by your manager?

Additional Information:

Article- How to Make Employees Feel Valued

Article- Stress Levels Higher for Nurses Who Feel Undervalued

 

J. Adderton is an RN MSN with over 20 years of nursing experience in a variety of settings. J. Adderton enjoys writing on a wide range of topics, but especially topics associated with substance use disorder and recovery in nurses. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to visit blog to read other articles written by J. Adderton.

7 Followers; 60 Articles; 28,062 Profile Views; 279 Posts

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

3,249 Posts; 33,643 Profile Views

Good article.  Some additional points:

1.  Encourage staff to work out their own interpersonal problems.  Do not get reeled in by tattling; do not call the tattled-on nurse to the "principal's office".  If the problem is bad enough, offer to facilitate while the 2 staff members speak face-to-face.

2.  Employee evaluations should paint an accurate picture of how well the person is doing overall.  If there is something the employee should work on, the manager should just put it into the plan.  Routinely requiring the employee to list "goals" and "areas to improve on" regardless of performance is just insulting.

3.  Be honest about things you can't fix.  If your hands are tied on staffing issues, say so.  Don't give doublespeak about "our staffing is tied to national benchmarks, so we are appropriately staffed" or other nonsense.  Nurses know when they are staffed adequately and when they're not.

4.  Encourage nurses to tell you right away if a patient or family is unhappy.  That way you can troubleshoot or at least not be blindsided by a complaint.  Unless it's obvious the nurse acted poorly, err on the side of supporting the nurse.  If you are blindsided by a patient complaint, don't assume it's the nurse's fault and call her in to defend herself.  That is not supportive.

5.  Do not canvass the patients to solicit complaints about nurses.  The patients can tell when you are doing this and it upsets them.

6.  Allow staff nurses to add to the staff meeting agenda, and address these items.  Hijacking the meetings is disenfranchising and detrimental to morale.

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J.Adderton has 20 years experience as a MSN.

60 Articles; 279 Posts; 28,062 Profile Views

Great additions.  I love #3

 

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klone has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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Great post, and great suggestions, Tricia!

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HarleyvQuinn has 10 years experience as a BSN.

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1. Actually respond to your employees if they reach out to you with an issue. Don't completely ignore their calls, texts, and emails. 

2. Feedback of some kind should be offered throughout the evaluation period. Positive and negative. Handing employees negative performance evaluations at the end of the year without any feedback of performance issues during the year? Serves no purpose except to decrease morale and reduce retention. Why would you continue to work in an environment where they refuse to give you an opportunity to improve before slamming you with a negative review? This goes double when only vague criticisms are provided instead of specific examples of problems so that improvements can be made. No one has a crystal ball.  

3. Mentorship. This is severely lacking in many healthcare organizations. Starting with our new grads and moving all the way up through our young leaders, everyone needs mentorship to continue to grow and learn throughout their career. No one is born a nurse or a leader. It's time to stop hiding in offices and get out there and work with your staff to develop them into the team you want to see. Lead from the front. 

4. You should probably be physically present with your employee when they receive their year-end evaluation to review and sign. If nothing else, to actually discuss their performance and answer any questions or concern the employee has, as well as discuss plans and goals for the next year. It's bad form to farm this out to someone not even involved in the evaluation process who a) doesn't know what is in the evaluation, b) has no need to know what is in the evaluation, invading the employee's privacy, and c) cannot answer questions or concerns. 

5. If you have to come in early on a rare occasion and your night staff stop you and demand to see your identification badge because they don't recognize you, this is a problem. It means you don't make an effort to know them. Management is not a 9-5 M-F job. Make sure you're taking care of your night and weekend teams, too. Consider them when scheduling education and meeting times.

Don't be afraid to utilize conference calling for staff meetings - it allows more to attend without having to waste gas or drive while sleep deprived!

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JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

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I agree with the article and the suggestions that other people have replied with.

For me, I'm pretty simple - I feel valued when the things I value are respected. As a float nurse, I am pretty self-sufficient and rarely need to go to management for anything. When I do, it is something I value - usually an issue with patient safety, an issue with my money, or an issue with scheduling. I don't have to like the answer that management gives me about these things, but I do need to feel like you respect what I am saying about it.

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benharold1 has 35 years experience as a BSN.

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I agree totally with this article. Unfortunately, many Nurse Managers and Health care systems do not value retention.  The system I work for had a retention nurse and she was very helpful in helping me find another position within the system  I work for. But for some reason the organization did not want to continue to fund her position.

I currently work for a Manager that does not show that she values her nursing staff and we have staff who are leaving and plan to leave including myself. It is sad considering the nursing shortage. Many nurses are just asked to do too much and want to give quality care and are being stressed by understaffing and long hours. ( It is not unusual for our staff to work 13-16 hour long shifts to catch up on paperwork . ) We feel devalued that no-one is addressing the problem and only get criticized because of the overtime. What I find sad is that the compassion that is expected to be shown to patient's and families is not shown by management to the staff.  Also, hospitals are pushing Managers into a performance theatrical mode (ie: enforcing ADIET as a cure all , acronyms to improve survey scores, ideas from staff  are  disapproved). Many health care systems are blaming Nurses for low survey scores and not looking at the system that creates the problems (ie:poor nurse/patient staffing ratios, low morale, exhausted staff.)

Direct care nurses are the back-bone of the profession. Compassionate people doing their best in a health care world driven by revenue.

 

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klone has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

13,223 Posts; 114,388 Profile Views

4 hours ago, benharold1 said:

What I find sad is that the compassion that is expected to be shown to patient's and families is not shown by management to the staff.  Also, hospitals are pushing Managers into a performance theatrical mode (ie: enforcing ADIET as a cure all , acronyms to improve survey scores, ideas from staff  are  disapproved). Many health care systems are blaming Nurses for low survey scores and not looking at the system that creates the problems (ie:poor nurse/patient staffing ratios, low morale, exhausted staff.)

 

I am a big believer in Richard Branson's philosophies on leadership - the job of the manager is to take care of the staff. The staff are the manager's customers. Only when the staff feel supported and respected and have their needs met (both tangible and intangible) will they be able to provide great care to their customers (patients).

There's a great book on this subject called "Patients Come Second"

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benharold1 has 35 years experience as a BSN.

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Thank you for the information on the book.  I will definitely obtain and copy and read it.

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3,108 Posts; 23,326 Profile Views

5 hours ago, benharold1 said:

Also, hospitals are pushing Managers into a performance theatrical mode (ie: enforcing ADIET [AIDET] as a cure all , acronyms to improve survey scores, ideas from staff  are  disapproved).

Okay, but isn't it entertaining just a little bit, too?

Enthusiastic ED employee: "Thanks for coming in today, we're glad you're here!"

Pt: WTH/WTFIWWY???? 🤬

😂

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benharold1 has 35 years experience as a BSN.

36 Posts; 862 Profile Views

Thanks! Glad to be here!  Feeling supported and great ideas, conversation

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