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Fresh, usable ideas to help your team think differently about patient and team engagement

To understand why nurses leave, maybe we should focus on why they used to stay

Why do we work? That may seem like a simple question. But for organizations trying to figure out why nurses are leaving their jobs, it may be the question to contemplate. What attracts and retains employees: cash, career or calling? Research conducted by Dr. Amy Wrzesniewski, organizational behavior professor at Yale University’s School of Management, explains that employees think about work as: A job focused on pay to support family, hobbies and life outside of work (“cash”) A path to success and prestige (“career”), or An integral part of their lives and individual identity (“calling”). Dr. Wrzesniewski found that employees in most workplaces are evenly divided among these three categories. She also discovered that individuals who have a strong “calling” orientation report higher satisfaction with

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healthcare leadership development - introspective leader

The one introspective question all leaders should ask themselves

Great leaders recognize early that leadership development in healthcare is not a straight nor smooth path. Like any effective organizational improvement strategy, personal improvement is a lifelong journey. The best leaders are always looking for ways to get better, especially with the organizational recovery challenges that the pandemic has thrown at them. The journey of introspection in healthcare leadership development can be advanced in many ways, but we’ve found that one question is often a great place to start and continually assess progress: Who’s the best person I’ve ever worked for, and what did s/he do differently that I want to emulate? Reading books or attending workshops on healthcare leadership development can be helpful in understanding best practices. But there’s nothing quite like seeing a

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Pizza box with one slice of pizza at Stamp & Chase

Hold the pepperoni; staff are craving something more satisfying than pizza

Several weeks ago during an NBC Nightly News story on the effects of nurse burnout, I heard a tired, dedicated nurse from Little Rock voice in frustration, “… and please don’t order us any more pizza.” In a face-to-face conversation with a health care worker a few weeks ago, I heard a similar sentiment: “If one more person tries to hand me a piece of candy, I’m going to throw it back in their face.” Even before today’s concerns about the effect of nurse burnout, how to best recognize staff has been an issue that I’ve seen leaders grappling with since the beginning of my career. I’ve seen it all, from complicated points-and-prizes systems to “thank you” candy bars with the hospital’s logo. In the

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hospital staff engagement - burned out medical nurse putting mask on

For healthcare, COVID has forever changed the rules of engagement

Turnover. Burnout. Intense competition for talent. Lower hospital staff engagement. Never before have human capital issues consumed such a significant share of health system’s concerns about the future. While the pandemic has raised new challenges in retention and staff engagement across industries, nowhere are these issues more pronounced than in healthcare. This is the final installment in our series Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus. When we started this series, some may have wondered why we were talking about the pandemic when the worst seemed to be over. Vaccines appeared to provide a viable path to control the virus. And cases were dropping dramatically after the surge in late winter. But today, it is more than just the emergence of highly contagious variants and vaccine

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healthcare management can be overwhelming

Be careful what you wish for! Five tips to avoid the healthcare “management blues”

New title. New office. New status in the organization. Being promoted to a healthcare management position is everything you’ve dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve, right? Not always. A recent article in Harvard Business Review by professors Nishani Bourmault and Michel Anteby looks at why employees moving up to management roles experience what they describe as “managerial blues.” Given the stress of the pandemic, the healthcare management blues may be even more pronounced. In “Research: Becoming a Manager Doesn’t Always Feel Like a Step Up,” Bourmault and Anteby describe why staff drivers moving up to managers in the Paris subway system frequently experienced disappointment in their new roles. The new managers described that in their old jobs, they dealt with life-and-death situations, consistently

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how to better support frontline staff in conversations

Five questions to make the “How are you doing?” conversation more meaningful

How to support frontline staff and stay connected to what they’re feeling has never been more important. As health care organizations emerge from what has hopefully been the worst of the pandemic, there will be a tendency to breathe a sigh of relief and high-five the team’s success. Indeed, there is much for the country to be thankful for regarding healthcare professionals’ sacrifices. But for health care leaders, the emphasis now should not only be on celebration. Rather, effective leaders who are really focused on how to support frontline staff are more concerned about the toll heroic efforts have taken. Why the Development Dialogue makes sense now Of course, each individual employee has his/her own story and struggles related to the pandemic. That’s why the

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Feedback helps improve employee retention

Why catching your team in the act of doing good is so important right now

“It seems like they only notice when we do something wrong!” When talking with frontline staff about improving employee retention, I’ve certainly heard that statement more than once. In many cases, the complaint might be overstated, and employees may even admit that if pressed. But staff usually think that leaders are too critical not because they point out problems too often. Rather, it is because they offer positive feedback too seldom. More positive reinforcement is crucial to improve employee retention. In our T.E.A.M. leadership model, observation is one of the important practices within the “Mentor” module. By spending time in the trenches with staff, leaders have a much more powerful platform to provide feedback – both positive and constructive. Right now, spending time on the

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rethinking the purpose of goal setting graphic from stamp & chase

Rethinking the purpose and power of goal-setting during the pandemic

For health care organizations focused largely on operational survival, hour-to-hour may best describe their planning horizon right now. The immediate challenges of the pandemic have thrown a wrench in most healthcare systems’ disciplined, predictable annual goal-setting processes. But the pandemic shouldn’t cause organizations to completely toss aside goal-setting, especially at the workgroup level. This article is the fifth in our series Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus. Today, we look at how to use adapted goals to support a workforce that is physically exhausted, emotionally drained and, in some cases, disillusioned. Following are three ways to think differently about goal-setting during the pandemic, pulling back on some priorities and leaning into others. Be as clear about what you’re not going to do as you are

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empowering staff in healthcare - video from Burl Stamp

When staff feel they’ve lost control, involving them in decisions is even more critical

All of us have experienced a sense of powerlessness because of COVID-19. For health care professionals, that frustration has been magnified 10-fold. As a result, empowering staff in healthcare is even more important today. While leaders cannot magically reduce the problems caused by the pandemic, they can include staff members in problem-solving and decision-making. Especially now, empowering staff in healthcare by listening to their frustrations and their ideas for addressing them is essential to reduce burnout and turnoer. In this fourth installment in our series, Leadership in the Time of Coronavirus, we talk about the power of empowerment in healthcare in this short video:

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medical doctor holding a gift box

Leadership rounding should be a gift you give your staff … and yourself

It is Christmas Day as I’m writing this blog. This quiet afternoon took me back to a similar Christmas afternoon in 1998. I was the new CEO of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and that afternoon I made one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I’ve ever made as a healthcare leader. It helped me better understand the real power in leadership rounding. Our kids were young at the time. Between the excitement of opening gifts that morning and our traditional holiday dinner, things were very quiet around the house. Out of the blue, I said to my wife Luanne, “I think I’m going to go down to the hospital for a little while.” “To work?!” she said. “It’s Christmas.” “No, just to walk around and tell the

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