“There is mounting evidence that unhealthy work environments contribute to medical errors, ineffective delivery of care, and conflict and stress among health professionals. Negative, demoralizing and unsafe conditions in workplaces cannot be allowed to continue. The creation of healthy work environments is imperative to ensure patient safety, enhance staff recruitment and retention, and maintain an organization’s financial viability.”
AACN Standards for a Healthy Work Environment
Unhealthy and contentious work environments characterized by verbal abuse, inappropriate use of power, and lack of collaboration have an undeniable effect on turnover and loss of professionals from the workforce. Studies have begun to document the link and, to turn this tide, prestigious bodies including the Institute of Medicine, the National Patient Safety Foundation, and other national organizations, are calling for improved collaborative practice across the health professions. National efforts for improving the clinical work environment have begun.
Improving the work environment requires attention to communication, inter-professional working relationships, work process structures, power differentials, and negotiation skills. The success of teams relies directly on the context within which they work; organizational cultures and professional subcultures can create unseen barriers that make collaboration and teamwork ineffective.
Managing the context, or work environment, is key. With methods for addressing intimidation, verbal abuse, and fear early and directly, professionals can preserve valuable working relationships, and begin to restore trust. Incorporating accountability through clear agreements and feedback further builds on and reinforces this foundation. Professionals are then better able to resolve conflicts before they escalate into damaging disputes, and they can draw on this foundation of trust when difficult issues must be addressed. This solidifies team-based care, which improves patient outcomes. Healthy work environments lead to healing environments for professionals, for patients, and for their families.
Health Care Mediations works with Happy family store and practice groups to refocus on what matters most people. Through skill-building, process development, and facilitated dialogue, groups are better able to surface barriers to collaboration and develop solutions for improving the work environment. In service of this, Health Care Mediations offers:
- Skill development
- Process development