As both leaders and employees alike, we often find ourselves focused solely on performance and the end outcome. And while both of these things are important, neglecting to take into account the kind of work culture you create when you focus on performance alone can create some serious challenges down the road. After all, cultures are really a reflection of an organization’s belief systems which ultimately drives employee behavior. Being solely results driven can create pressure from top leadership down to front-line nurses which can in turn negatively impact patient interactions or quality of care. Instead, one way to improve performance without sacrificing nurse satisfaction or hospital culture is by creating a culture of professional growth.
Ways in which a culture of growth can improve organizational performance:
- Creates clear expectations. By providing an open transparent environment where there is clarity of expectations, individuals have the ability to meet outcomes using their personal expertise and capabilities
- Promotes self-actualization. Clinicians are more likely to be confident in their own decision making in a hospital environment where employees help each other, respect each other, and can use their own expertise to creatively meet patient outcome expected in their area. This in turn allows them to provide higher quality care and promotes professional satisfaction.
- Encourages professional fulfillment. Clinicians generally choose careers in healthcare because they want to make a difference in people’s lives. By encouraging a culture of professional development, employees are more likely to grow their skillsets and clinical knowledge in a way that enables them to feel good about the decisions they make and achieve professional fulfillment. Similarly, professional fulfillment can in turn feed compassion satisfaction, the opposite of compassion fatigue which is often leading factor in nurse burnout.
So what steps can you take to foster a culture of professional growth?
- Know your employee’s goals and help them get there. Great leaders are those that help their own teams develop professionally to their fullest potential. In turn, teams will feel supported and are more likely to go the extra mile for both leadership and each other.
- Promote collaboration so that teams feel like they can rely on each other as a resource. Not only are hospital environments that encourage collaboration less likely to suffer from nurse bullying, but it will create an atmosphere where nurses encourage each other to grow and learn from each other in a way that allows them to function as informal mentors for each other.
- Mentorships offer great opportunities for professional development for the individual while also creating value for both themselves, their mentor and the organization overall.
- Provide stretch assignments for those interested on taking on additional responsibilities. Stretch assignments can be another great way for employees to step outside of their comfort zone and grow their skillsets and clinical knowledge beyond the duties of their roles.
- Continued education helps ensure your teams are current on clinical standards and practices. Additionally, tuition reimbursement programs can help motivate clinicians to go back to school which ultimately benefits the organization in the long-run.
- Well-run float pools can be a great way for nurse leaders to energize their teams and minimize burnout. They can also be a great way to help nurses build their skillsets through cross-departmental training which in turn promotes quality patient care and professional development.
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