Healthcare

Improving the nursing job experience: Self-care and team connection tools

Burnout amongst nurses continues to be an epidemic in hospitals and other healthcare systems. How can the nursing experience evolve to enable nurses to deliver better care and reduce staff turnover?

Imagine if you could understand the emotional distress that nurses are experiencing, when does it happen, who is better situated to handle it, how do we promote the life skills required to prepare people for this job and the stress that it entails, how do we change the job landscape to make it more attractive for younger generations and keep people engaged for longer?

The current landscape

Caretaking careers are infamously associated with high levels of stress, making it difficult to hire nurses, retain nurses, and maintain a certain quality of care. They are regularly cited as one of the top 7 most stressful careers — 90% of nurses are thinking about leaving their hospital because of inadequate work-life balance, and it's expected to rise over the next 5 years. 

 

Problems impacting the nursing role:

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  • Moral distress due to the inherent nature of the job

  • Poor resilience to stress

  • Underutilized EAP and employee survey outcomes

  • More turnover than a crazed baker

  • Overburdened work staff
     

Why current solutions aren't working

Healthcare is notoriously slow at adopting and implementing changes in workplace culture. We have conversations with healthcare professionals daily that culminate with “let’s circle back to this next year”, or “this is a high priority but we don’t have the resources to address it now”. Data is being collected, the problem is glaring, but administrators need help to quickly identify and address staff maladies as they arise so they don’t have to defer to a later date when the damage is already done.   

On top of this, tools that were designed to simplify the job, like EMRs, are largely overburdening staff, and work-life balances are often neglected. Disheartened staff members negatively impact patient outcomes and lower peer morale, posing a large financial risk and driving turnover. Stress multiplies exponentially.

 

What needs to be done

Self-care is the solution to help nurses manage job stress, communicate effectively with their organizations and peers, and deliver more empathetic care. Managers need insights that clearly illustrate the root cause of staff dissatisfaction, and quick solutions to avoid larger problems. When one nurse is unhappy, it can quickly incite a chain reaction - Stop it before it spreads.

Increased staff self-care skills; data that is actually useful; targeted stress relievers delivered with urgency.

A positive workplace culture is similarly integral to improving communication within nursing staff and keeping stress at bay. Taking the initiative to understand what motivates and engages staff at an individual and team level is a must.  

Ultimately it boils down to recognition. Building a culture that endorses recognition, both horizontally (peer to peer) and vertically (praise from management), will reinforce the importance of the work being done and inspire staff to stay positive and engaged.  

 

How to start

There are simple tricks to begin building such a system and culture.

1. Promote self-care tips and tricks to staff. Deep breathing at the onset of meetings or during stressful periods is the most simple yet effective start.

2. Engage in team-building exercises and breaks to foster social connection and build a support system within teams.

3. Take action on employee data with urgency. Treating staff like customers is a helpful way to approach the problem.

 

Get a move on

A nurturing culture alleviates and prevents stress and burnout, yet this culture doesn’t seem to be growing fast enough. In today’s healthcare environment, nurses are leaving clinical roles in less than two years’ time. It’s time to revamp what it means to be in a nursing role by first designing an employee experience that better caters to personal desires and drivers. With the right systems in place to keep staff happy and engaged, profitability and patient outcomes dramatically improve.


Psocratic is a proactive behavioral AI on a mission to advance workplace culture and wellbeing. Schedule a demo or say hello: info@psocratic.com 🙌

How VR is changing the Healthcare Landscape

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Goggles are the brave shields that have taken us above the clouds, under the ocean and now — into whole new realities. The meteoric rise of VR technology is due to the sheer amount of interest and money it attracts. Venture capital firms are pouring billions of dollars into developing virtual reality technologies. Citi projects that the VR industry will grow to $15.9B by the end of 2019 while content and hardware pieces will be valued at $200B by 2020. Once the foundation for VR hardware and systems is laid, the conversation naturally turns to the content. What will compel people to buy these products?

VR is transposing traditional digital experiences into the 3D realm, and thus has some valuable, but perhaps obvious applications: video games, digital art, movies, education, etc. There is no shortage of VR startups that want to provide memorable experiences, but by and large they are creating iterations of digital experiences consumers have grown to expect.

VR can also afford much greater opportunity to creators, allowing them to superimpose and blend interactive components into a variety of unique experiences. The immersive nature of VR means that we can create both active and passive experiences. We’re seeing exciting applications for those with mobile or physical limitations, for shared experiences among groups of people, and for use within the mental health and wellness field.

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VR has given chemotherapy patients the ability to take spur of the moment trips around the world as clear toxic fluids drip into their veins, reducing the burden of psychological symptoms associated with treatment. Studies show that VR experience can help mitigate combat-related PTSD and prep adolescents for major surgeries. VR is being used to simulate exposure therapy for those with stress, anxiety, and depression. Remarkably, there is even talk about reducing the use of opiates in hospitals with VR devices, a promising development at a time when pain-related addiction is devastating many of our communities.

VR is also making its way into everyday wellness spaces. Significant players like Samsung and Deepak Chopra are respectively working on guided meditation offerings for Samsung Gear consumers. Immersive meditation experiences provide a gamified solution with the potential to persuade even the most skeptical tech users to adopt these deeply enriching health experiences.

But what if VR was used to elevate experiences that don’t traditionally incorporate gamification, like the workplace? Almost two decades into the new millennium, the workplace is a vastly different place today than it was just a generation ago. Startups have championed the “perkplace”, with unlimited vacation days, daily catered lunches and even midday surf lessons. As companies look to incorporate tools for managing stress during the workday, VR may be a viable solution for filling that need.

At Psocratic, we’re working to build some of these experiences into our own product — think a VR setup in the break room for a quick escape, or teambuilding exercises that take place on Mars. The possibilities are endless and we can’t wait to see where the goggles will take us next.

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Psocratic and Arcane Reality have teamed up to offer VR stress management and meditation solutions for the workplace. For more information, you can inquire about it here.

Original post by Mandi Nyambi, Special Projects at Psocratic.