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What Hospitals Need Most Right Now

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Over the past few months, I have listened to many stories of concerns from hospital staff and facility directors. I will be the first to say, I was surprised by some of their comments. It was interesting to hear their perspective and how it differs compared to what’s being projected by the news outlets. Staff members talked about feeling frustrated that some of their concerns are falling upon deaf ears.

Processes and Equipment

One of the most consistent complaints I keep hearing is coming directly from staff within the facility. Specifically, they feel that they are not receiving the support needed from the C-Suite and corporate offices. When asked which support specifically they feel is lacking, the common answer was related to both equipment and departmental processes. Additionally, I was surprised to learn of staff being called off or furloughed due to lack of business when the consistent theme being projected to the public is that hospitals are being overwhelmed. Their main concerns are not COVID, but processes and job security.

Caring for our Staff

As hospital leaders, we need to remind ourselves (especially during these times) that it is essential we take care of our co-workers and staff assigned to our departments. Granted, this is something we should always strive to do, but during times where exterior concerns regarding the safety of your own family and personal safety are heightened, we can and do lose focus on our staff as people.  

Here are some ideas to help you have a better understanding of some quick changes you can make to ensure your meeting the real needs of your hospital and staff. Concerns are different at each facility, so this list is not all-inclusive.

  1. Do a quick huddle each morning to identify staff’s concerns. I have been consistently hearing staff feel like they do not have the ability to voice their concerns. One specific comment made to me was “waiting for the circus ideas to start every morning from administration.” When asked further for clarification, the staff member said they are getting directives that are constantly being contradicted by another directive that is issued 2 days later. When this occurs, trust decreases very quickly. So, do an internal huddle with your staff, no longer than 5 minutes, to allow time for concerns and clarification.
  2. Take time to speak with your staff directly. I know as a leader you’re getting pulled 10 different directions, but take a quick 15/30 minutes to walk around and speak with your staff one on one. They might have been hesitant to speak up among a group and are more comfortable speaking with you directly. Take that extra second to ask about their family and ensure they know you’re not only concerned about them, but their family as well. Remember great leaders are not authoritative. They are assertive and intuitive, but also warm, friendly, supportive, and constantly inquisitive (which includes asking about your staff’s family).  
  3. Constantly evaluate the equipment needs of your staff. During these times, staff are being reduced or called off and this immediately causes changes within the workplace. Changes occurring on a daily basis breeds and promotes opportunities for staff to find quicker ways to complete a job duty or assignment, which includes applying shortcuts if equipment is not available and minimizing/refusing to use protocols in place.  

Remember as leaders, we may tend to focus on the individual’s performance when something occurs and can forget about the bigger picture. For example, accidents and protocol failures within the workplace are attributed to the specific work environment and not the specific individual. Keep this in mind daily while working with your staff. You’ll be surprised how supportive they will or have become of you with small, beneficial changes that are occurring within the work place that helps them both professionally and personally.

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