This week is National Nurses Week, a seven day period dedicated to honoring the women and men who dedicate their lives on a daily basis to keeping patients healthy, safe, and happy within the healthcare environment. Nurses are some of the most vital people in a hospital or health system, and without their dedication, many physicians and other healthcare employees would have much more on their plates than they currently handle.
The modern nursing profession began with Florence Nightingale, whose work during the Crimean War in Europe helped secure a respected place for nurses in the medical world. Nightingale spent her life advocating for the improvement of military hospitals and the necessity of the nursing profession. She dedicated countless hours to securing funds and political backing, which created the important vocation we recognize today. Without Nightingale, nursing would not look the same.
Although modern-day nurses do not necessarily have to dedicate as much effort toward validating the profession as Nightingale did, they still play a key role in medicine. Their interactions with patients, and work on various medical tasks, are paramount to shaping the patient’s journey through the hospital. Engaged and dedicated nurses lead to happy and satisfied patients.
Techniques for Engaging Nurses
Take some time this week to consider what you are doing to keep your nursing staff engaged. Like for other employees, recognition is the number one driver of engagement for nurses. Take a moment to recognize individual nurses for their hard work. Whether you do it privately in one-on-one conversations, or in front of their peers, it is important nurses know you notice their dedication and effort. Everyone wants to be recognized for the work they do, and this week is a great opportunity to showcase on a large scale the impact nurses have on the patient and the healthcare experience. Don’t limit recognition to this week alone though; it must be an ongoing and frequent part of the job.
You should also take this week to reiterate every nurse’s key role in the strategy and mission of the organization. Since nurses often interact directly with patients, you may believe they can see the influence they have on the overall outcome of the hospital, but it is important to put this into words as well. Nurses, like all employees, want to understand their impact. They want the freedom and autonomy to succeed. Consider whether you are trusting nurses to make decisions “on the fly” while on the hospital floor, and if not, use this week to reevaluate and determine new ways to allow nurses to better contribute to the organization’s success. Giving your nurses this freedom will engage them and encourage them to exert more discretionary effort, from which everyone will benefit.
Nurses are a key part of any hospital experience, and they deserve to be honored for their commitment and influence. While the fact that it is National Nurses Week may bring nurses’ engagement to the forefront of your mind, don’t let them fall off your radar once this week is over. Continue to engage your nursing staff, no matter what time of year it is. After all, without nurses, a hospital would be a very, very different place.