January 29, 2018
Most people walking into their doctor’s office or hospital aren’t having the best day of their lives. Having a friendly face and a kind word to assist patients with their paperwork and potentially painful procedures can help make their visit better than expected. Unfortunately, many healthcare professionals aren’t having the best day either. With long hours, poor equipment, and an often emotionally trying job, healthcare professionals need their own pick-me up at work. Since a happy staff is good way to ensure happy patients, let’s take a look at some ways we can improve working environments for healthcare professionals.
Working in healthcare is a hard, demanding job. Two ways to make the experience a bit better for both staff and patients are making workflows easier and improving staff comfort. One simple step to take is to improve office comfort. Investing in new hardware, comfortable chairs, and ergonomic desks will help your staff be more relaxed and focused on their work.
Other workspace improvements such as good lighting and climate control can help both your staff and your patients stay alert and clear headed. When staff are comfortable in their work environment, rather than gritting their teeth through a sore back or fighting with that broken drawer, it is far easier to be friendly and comforting with the patients that need it most.
There are few things more frustrating than using a slow computer when you have a pressing task. Removing sources of frustration such as low speed internet, slow outdated computers, and unsupported software can not only keep your staff from getting frustrated with their tools, but also make them far more efficient. This is particularly relevant now that technology is becoming a barrier for staff since so much of patient records and other paperwork are electronic. Removing busywork from their schedules also improves both efficiency and sense of pride; no one wants to waste their time and effort on unnecessary tasks when they could be accomplishing something more meaningful.
Not only can staff happiness effect patient happiness, it can even impact their safety. An Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) study on “The Effect of Health Care Working Conditions on Patient Safety” suggested that even minor improvements to “workplace stress, lighting conditions, and organizational factors” could help reduce issues such as fatigue and clerical errors that impact patient safety.
Sick patients aren’t having a good day when they walk into your office, and they don’t want to deal with unhappy, unapproachable staff members. When interactions are tense or hostile everyone loses. Healthcare professionals are there first and foremost to help sick patients get better, and this includes a pleasant, comforting ‘bedside manner.’ Making sure that your staff are equipped to do this means making their happiness a priority as well. If every interaction patients’ have with your staff is smooth and pleasant, the happier and healthier they will feel.
By treating your staff with respect and working to make the little things in their workplace and routine more efficient and comfortable, you can ensure that their workdays are more enjoyable and more productive. Many times, respecting staff means listening to them and hearing their suggestions, whether it be hardware, software, materialist office needs, or workflow problems. Take the time to find out what they need— If your staff are happy then your patients will have a better, safer experience.