Through the Eyes of the Workforce-Finally! Healthcare Professionals Exhale & Hope w/ Report from Lucian Leape Institute at NPSF!

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If you work in Eyes of Workforceor around healthcare, you know that there are important links between supporting healthcare professionals and providing safe care!  But, the visibility and solutions have remained obscure in leadership strategies and public scrutiny.  “Through the Eyes of the Workforce:  Creating Joy, Meaning, and Safer Healthcare” is a powerful and exciting report that brings these important concerns to the front!  This is a vital step for changing implicit norms where healthcare professionals are chronically mistreated in the course of caring for our patients.  It is a call to action for nurse, physician, and administrative leaders to make long term and authentic commitments to improving workplaces and supporting the work we do!  Patient Advocates and safety specialists must also play a part in insisting upon leaders to make these changes.

There are important links between supporting healthcare professionals and providing safe care! Click To Tweet

Tough to read maybe, because it seems so sad and unacceptable that nurses, social workers, physical therapists, nurse assistants and even doctors and others could be treated so poorly and so invisibly for so long.  Yet it is true!

Two Compelling Excerpts from the Executive Summary:

…many health care workers suffer harm—emotional and physical—in the course of providing care. Many are subjected to being bullied, harassed, demeaned, ignored, and in the most extreme cases, physically assaulted. They are also physically injured by working in conditions of known and preventable environmental risk. In addition, production and cost pressures have reduced complex, intimate,caregiving relationships into a series of demanding tasks performed under severe time constraints. Under these conditions, it is difficult for caregivers to find purpose and joy in their work, or to meet the challenge of making health care safe for patients they serve.
The prevalence of physical harm experienced by the health care workforce is striking, much higher than stressed womanin other industries. Up to a third of nurses experience back or musculoskeletal injuries in a year, and many have unprotected contact with blood-borne pathogens.  Psychological harm is also common. In manyhealth care organizations, staff are not treated with respect—or, worse yet, they are routinely treated with disrespect. Emotional abuse, bullying, and even threats of physical assault and learning by humiliation are all often accepted as “normal” conditions of the health care workplace, creating a culture of fear and intimidation that saps joy and meaning from work.

The report itself includes examples of successful High-Reliability Organizations and recommends seven strategies to address the problems.

Even if you only read the two page Executive Summary, you will feel validated, inspired, and hopeful.  I have three suggestions for making this report even stronger:

1.  A stronger emphasis on adequate staffing.  All the training, protocols, and tools fly out the window when we don’t have enough qualified people to do the work.  When we are chronically understaffed we develop patterns of normalizing deviance which are extremely unsafe and unsatisfying.

2.  This kind of culture change will require long term commitment from everyone and an acknowledging to new and burnt-out staff  about what has been wrong or that the change is overdue is an important step in building trust.  Some kind of ownership.

3.  Leaders must walk the talk.  No mixed messages or double standards.

Nevertheless, very high praise for this groundbreaking work!  Let me know what you think! 


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3 Responses to Through the Eyes of the Workforce-Finally! Healthcare Professionals Exhale & Hope w/ Report from Lucian Leape Institute at NPSF!

  1. Pingback: Interrelatedness of Patient & Staff Safety: Part I-Environment of Care Survey Process

  2. Pingback: Open Letter to The Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging re: 7/14 Hearing on Patient Safety: “More than 1,000 Preventable Deaths a Day is Too Many”!

  3. Beth,
    Thank you so much for sharing! This is a huge leap in the right direction. I love your added suggestions to make this report even stronger. If I may, one more to add:
    Caring for ourselves as healthcare providers is the secret key and crucial component to enabling any and all of this to be a success. When we take care of ourselves we can cope with any stress that is thrown our way. When we take care of ourselves we can best care for our patients and clients.

    Beth, wonderful article. Thank you for sharing this!

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