By Jennifer Larson, contributor Sep 10, 2020
This has been an extremely challenging year for everyone working in
healthcare—from clinical lab technicians and therapists to physicians, nurses
and administrators. Even the cleaning staff and food service personnel have
been working overtime and under stressful conditions.
Frontline healthcare workers have been applauded for their response to
the COVID-19 pandemic, but as cases drag on, you and your medical colleagues
may be growing weary—both physically and mentally. It is a palpable feeling
that can affect your entire department. It also verifies a Gallup poll taken
earlier this year that found three out of four healthcare workers (78 percent) believed
the coronavirus would have a “somewhat negative” or “very negative” effect on
So what can leaders and staff do to keep up morale and keep everyone
According to the Gallup organization, this is a critical time for
leaders to safeguard employees’ needs and ensure that staff members know they
are supported. It is also important for everyone on the medical team to look
out for each other.
“Medical team encouragement is paramount to everything from patient
satisfaction to the revenue and profit of the business,” says Kyle D. Bogan, DDS, a speaker and consultant
on medical office culture. “During the stressful and uncertain times that
healthcare providers find themselves in today, employers should be doubling
down on employee engagement.”
Here are some key strategies that can help you and your team stay
focused, connected and engaged.
medical teams across the U.S. as a locum tenens.
5 Strategies to Keep Medical
1. Show leadership support
Are team members taking the time to care for
Are they staying connected to each other?
Are they receiving praise and affirmation for
all their hard work?
Managers and supervisors must be deliberate about showing employees
that they are supported. They should also be deliberate about acknowledging the
challenges that everyone has been going through--and may be continuing to go
In fact, it helps if leaders can admit that it’s a challenging time for
them, too, suggests Christine Kiesinger, PhD, vice president of development and
lead trainer of conscious communication and emotional intelligence for Studio
BE. This kind of honesty can foster trust and respect among the medical staff and
help keep everyone engaged.
“The leader has to set the stage and set the tone,” says Kiki Orski,
MBA, RN, founder of Peak Performance Consulting.
In order to be effective, the entire organization’s leadership team needs
to be on board—and be visible about their desire to support their employees.
2. Leaders: Get out there and keep
Leaders: don’t hole up in your office or rely on others to communicate
for you. Get out there and talk to your employees. Let your team know that
you’re listening and that you want to hear from them.
“They need to be sure they’re getting an accurate picture of what’s
happening on the front line,” says Orski.
Cory Colton, principal executive coach with Inflection
Point Coaching, suggests increasing the frequency of leader
rounding, when leaders walk the floors and take time to speak with
“Senior and executive leaders should use this opportunity to connect
genuinely with the staff to let them know how much they are appreciated,
recognize their meaningful work and understand issues the staff are facing,”
3. Encourage employee feedback and
Good communication, of course, is a two-way street. Organizations
should encourage their medical staff to communicate with the leadership team
and make multiple pathways available for them to submit feedback. Managers at
all levels should make a habit of asking staff members how you they can better
support them in a meaningful way.
After all, the medical staff is the face of an organization, notes
Orski. Leaders need to know how they’re feeling, because they’re the ones
communicating with customers and the community.
Establishing a flow of communication may take some time to achieve,
however, so be prepared.
“If your organization has not been a communication-friendly zone in the past,
your team will not turn on a dime to break down those barriers that have been in
place,” says Bogan. “They may still fear that speaking out will cause them to
lose their position. A regular and reinforced cadence of meetings and other
communication opportunities will slowly break down the barriers of the past.”
4. Make sure staff members are taking care of themselves, and each
Managers, team leaders and others on the medical team should keep tabs
on each other. Kiesinger suggests considering these questions:
“Leaders should remind staff of the role that social support plays in
navigating stress and transition,” notes Kiesinger.
For example, a department manager could encourage staff to schedule
regular gatherings where they can talk about anything but work, suggests Kiesinger.
For now, those gatherings might have to be socially distanced or virtual. Supervisors
may also want to schedule short daily check-ins so each staff member always has
an opportunity to request any extra support he or she might need that day.5. Don’t make decisions in a vacuum
It doesn’t do much good to improve communication if leaders are not
going to take their medical staff’s feedback into account when making
decisions. It is important to establish a way to generate input from employees
who are close to the work, and then find a way to incorporate that input.
“Frontline leaders and staff should be included in the process when
possible,” says Colton.
Shared decision-making and a culture of care and support can make all
the difference when it comes to maintaining your medical team’s morale.STAFF CARE
and advanced practitioners with fulfilling locum tenens assignments across the
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