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5 Steps to Improving Healthcare Worker Well-Being [Plus Bonus Tips]

The National Institute of Health found that roughly half of nurses reported physical (44.4%) and verbal (67.8%) abuse at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also found that physical and verbal abuse, characterized as workplace violence and resulting trauma, leads to depression, PTSD, job dissatisfaction, and turnover.

However, many incidents aren’t reported to safety professionals because employees feel it's merely part of their job. A survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians found that while 70% of emergency physicians reported acts of violence against them, only 3% pressed charges. With a looming staffing shortage and violence on the rise, leaders can't use an outdated approach.


Moreover, The Joint Commission's new and revised standards for workplace violence (WPV) prevention, response, and reporting were effective January 1, 2022. Accordingly, your organization should leverage safety solutions to comply with new criteria. It's crucial to ensure compliance, support the well-being of your hospital and healthcare staff, and prevent burnout.


Explore five evidence-based actions based on the 2022 Healthcare Workforce Rescue Package, including recommendations from the CEO Coalition, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), and a group of healthcare experts. In addition, learn how to use resources and technologies to support your healthcare system and staff.


5 Steps to Support Healthcare Workers' Well-Being

The 2022 Healthcare Workforce Rescue Package is part of the ALL IN: WellBeing First for Healthcare campaign, developed by #FirstRespondersFirst and The Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes Foundation. It provides a foundation for your long-term well-being strategies, including a resource hub for mental health and resiliency information and implementation tools. The All In initiative developed the following five steps for supporting healthcare workers' well-being as part of the effort.


Provide Flexibility and Autonomy for Clinicians

The All In campaign suggests healthcare organizations apply crisis documentation protocols. Doing so can help alleviate the burden on clinicians. It's a temporary solution while your organization develops alternatives. Start by reviewing your documentation requirements with your IT, legal, and compliance teams. Use regulatory compliance software and reporting tools to ensure you're meeting standards while reducing clinician crisis reporting workloads.


Also, consider modifying your quality and patient experience goals for clinicians. While these are important guidelines, they can add pressure to already stressed healthcare teams. Look at ways to relieve the pressure and set a timeline for reassessing the situation.


Reduce Low-Value Work

Low-value work, such as looking for equipment or other tasks that don't require nursing credentials, is tedious and less satisfying than patient care. Improve healthcare worker satisfaction and well-being by swiftly eliminating or reducing unnecessary tasks. Take a rapid improvement approach, which analyzes and resolves critical issues over days or weeks, not months. Get a small team and your clinicians involved to uncover the sources of low-value work and devise a solution.


The All In campaign recommends reviewing your mandatory training requirements and removing unnecessary or redundant ones. Your legal and compliance teams and regulatory compliance software can provide insights into which programs to stop temporarily or permanently. Other ways to reduce low-value work include limiting inbox notifications, which your clinicians can point out, and your IT team can resolve. Also, review common EHR workflows and look for ways to improve navigation, allowing clinicians to access essential data with fewer keystrokes.


Decrease Strain on Front-line Staff

Healthcare teams on the front lines have the lion's share of the burden. As a result, many are considering retirement or switching careers. Census microdata shows a 140% increase in newly retired nurses between March 2019 and March 2021. Use a multi-faceted strategy to address shortfalls in your resources and support and retain staff.


Suggestions from the All In initiative include: 

  • Deploy healthcare leaders to the front line so they can assist with bedside visits
  • Request non-clinical staff volunteers for front line duties
  • Consider adjusting your workers' shifts to fit staff and patient care needs
  • Identify opportunities to upskill and train MAs, RNs, and LPNs

Select a Leader to Oversee Clinician Well-Being Efforts

Your healthcare organization should consider adding a chief wellness officer role. In the meantime, you can appoint a senior leader to oversee well-being initiatives. This position should have the operational authority to make decisions.


Moreover, your leader should have a deep understanding of your equity, diversity, and inclusion objectives. Use this knowledge to align well-being efforts and ensure accountability.


Supply Mental Health Resources for Healthcare Staff

It's time to go beyond your EAP. Your healthcare staff needs adequate resources to identify problems, cope, and recover. The All In campaign recommends offering mental health counseling to healthcare staff and introducing a peer support program. Additionally, it's essential to educate all staff-facing leaders in psychological first aid.


Beyond the 5 Steps

These five evidence-based initiatives are a great start toward improving healthcare staff well-being. However, your organization must actively work to instill trust in employees, patients, and visitors. Updated technologies and software systems can ensure TJC regulation compliance while providing teams with the resources to feel safe and secure on the job. Use safety solutions to increase time spent on patient care and enhance employee health, satisfaction, and retention. 


Meet Compliance Standards

The increase in workplace violence and additional information about its effects means more emphasis on prevention and reduction. Consequently, several organizations are reviewing or adopting new guidelines to encourage proactivity. Regulatory compliance software benefits your organization because it gives you the tools to comply with federal and state regulations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and The Joint Commission Standards.


Leverage Incident Reporting Software

Incident reporting software is crucial to complying with federal and state regulations, including OSHA and The Joint Commission. It provides the framework for successful workplace violence interventions by ensuring thorough, consistent, and efficient reporting. Incident reporting software has built-in control permissions that healthcare organizations can use to offer anonymity in reporting. Furthermore, the right incident reporting tools enable leaders to decrease investigative response time and develop deeper insights.


Streamline and Automate Processes

Technology is helping healthcare security teams work smarter and more proactively to increase their effectiveness while reducing time spent on manual processes. Advanced incident reporting solutions simplify the report writing process to help boost productivity, save time, and ensure that security teams can focus on the safety and security of healthcare organizations.


These systems help increase productivity and save time by eliminating duplicative efforts. For example, when an officer creates a report related to a subject already in the database, the known information auto-populates the report, so time isn’t wasted re-entering information.


You can also help improve operational efficiency by implementing a solution with an easy-to-use interface and the ability to configure the platform to meet your organization’s unique needs. 


Take a Multi-Level Approach to Preparation

Select security and compliance software solutions that integrate with existing security systems and assist on-site safety professionals. The right platforms allow leaders to categorize incidents for better visibility and in-depth analytics showing potential vulnerabilities and trends.


In addition, leverage your safety platform and resources to develop and integrate de-escalation and decision-making workflows. Your team, patient, and visitors benefit when your organization addresses WPV and worker well-being issues from multiple angles. 


Adjust Your Approach to Enhance Healthcare Worker Well-Being

With new and revised TJC workplace violence regulations, hospitals must be proactive in meeting the standards. Omnigo's safety solutions provide a sophisticated toolkit for enhancing employee satisfaction, health, and retention. Improve healthcare workers' well-being by adopting tools and protocols that fully support your initiatives and instill trust. Learn how a comprehensive approach can improve outcomes at your hospital by registering for our Workplace Violence Prevention in Healthcare webinar.


Omnigo Software delivers innovative solutions that enable you to better protect your community, safeguard your brand, and secure your property and assets. Learn more by checking out our comprehensive suite of healthcare security solutions.